Sharjah Arabian Wildlife Center: Things To Do During Summer, UAE

Sharjah Arabian Wildlife Center: Things To Do During Summer, UAE

Are you looking for a family day out idea to beat the UAE heat this summer? Me too, so I have taken up the challenge to test and review as many as I can, kicking things off with a visit to Sharjah Arabian Wildlife Centre.

For background, I live in a fairly small apartment in Dubai, UAE with my partner and baby girl (currently 8 months), and seeing as we are only at the beginning of June (and it is now 40°C+) I am already starting to dread a summer indoors, so I am trying to find options which do not involve traipsing around another mall.

On Saturday we decided to try out Sharjah Arabian Wildlife Centre. Just a 45min drive from Dubai, it is open 11am-6.30pm on weekends and tickets cost a very reasonable 20aed for adults (kids under 12 free). Once inside I believe you have access to other places like the petting zoo but those are outside so we stuck to the air-conditioned wildlife centre.

What I really liked was that it had only Arabian animals and educated us about the desert habitats as we went around. So, if you have primary school-aged children who are learning about habitats at school, they would have a great time here. We weren't expecting our 8-month-old to be overly enthused, but she was quite happy to be carried around ignoring every animal we pointed at.

What I found a little disappointing, when I turned up with an urgent nappy situation, was that there were no baby changing facilities or even a surface in the bathrooms to use. This seemed like a very obvious oversight for a family destination. Suffice to say there were no nursing rooms either, which is forgivable, I have just been spoilt with these in Dubai.

If you find the start of your walk through a bit underwhelming, do not worry, my favourite section was further on, the view from the canteen. Here you feel like you have stepped into a nature documentary surrounded by beautiful Arabian wildlife like Flamingoes and Ibex. This then leads on to a section with the 'big' animals like Leopards, Hyenas and Baboons.

We visited around 1-2pm on a Saturday and it was lovely and quiet. Overall, especially for the price point, I would recommend it if you have primary school-aged children. As you can guess from the price it is not super modern but you do get to be up close with some wonderful native animals in a centre where they are promoting conservation and education, and away from crowds, so well worth a small road trip out of Dubai!

For more discussion about things to do with the kids in summer tune into Next of Kin: Parents Podcast.

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