Over the summer months in Dubai, with temperatures in the mid-40s Celsius (115°F) and what feels like 100% humidity, it is just too hot and humid to do anything outdoors for a long period of time and not sweat buckets.
Wee Scotch and I would go swimming every other day just to get out of the house. We have a few outdoor pools in our apartment complex and at any time of day, there will always be one that is shaded by the surrounding high-rises making it suitable for swimming without worry of heat exhaustion.
But now that the weather is cooling down, other outdoor pursuits are possible and my husband and I are constantly looking for new ideas to entertain our almost two-year-old son. He’s always been full of energy and we find that it’s getting harder to keep up with him. Like most toddlers, he gets bored of the same old toys very quickly and goes stir-crazy in the house by 8am (he wakes up at 7am).
While he will contently sit in front of the TV and watch Mickey Mouse Playhouse, Handy Manny, Jungle Junction, and Thomas the Tank Engine for a few hours at a time (don’t ask me how I know), it’s not good for him and not proper stimulation for his toddler brain.
He loves animals (what kid doesn’t) so we’ve taken him to the Wildlife Center and the Animal Santuary/Posh Paws – both in Sharjah and a relatively short drive away.
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Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum
I think they should really add “And Wildlife Center” to the formal name of this museum because the center has so much more than just natural history and botanical exhibits.
In 2008, when Scotch and I first visited Sharjah’s Arabian Wildlife Center and recommended it to others with children, I never would have imagined that I would one day return with a child of my own. Scotch and I didn’t expected to be in Dubai for more than two years but this month marks my fourth year here.
When we were here two years ago it was empty but when we went in April this year it was full of families with their children. But it was not too packed that we couldn’t enjoy ourselves or have to fight for viewing space.
You can read more about our first visit to the museum in my previous post here which also mentions many of the different animals they have on exhibit.
We skipped the Natural History Museum and the dinosaurs this time around as we arrived late in the afternoon and figured that Wee Scotch would be more entertained with live animals.
In the indoor exhibits, Wee Scotch especially loved the snakes (he made a “ssssss” sound whenever he saw one) and the aviary. “Bird” was one of his first words so he kept repeating, “Hi Birdie!” every time he saw one – which was like every second we were in the aviary. I loved watching the excitement on his face as he kept pointing at the birds with his fingers and chasing after some of them, to no avail of course.
In the aviary, my favorite birds were still the yellow Ruppell’s Weavers. There were also bustards, curlews, flamingos, and lots of nest building plovers that had laid eggs. Arabian bats were in a separate exhibit adjacent to the walk-in aviary.
We were not allowed to take photos in the wildlife center nor aviary, only in the children’s petting zoo.
Here is a YouTube video of Wee Scotch feeding the goats:
Getting there: From Dubai Marina, it took us about 50 minutes door-to-door with no weekend traffic. This time, we took Sheikh Zayed Road to Emirates Road to E-611 to E-88 (Al Dhaid road) and watched for signs for the museum. Check the museum website for more info and location map.
Opening Hours: Sun to Thu 09:00 – 17:30, Fri 14:00 – 17:30, Sat 11:00 – 17:30. Closed on Tue.
Admission Fee: Adult – Dhs15; Children (12 – 16) – Dhs5; Under 12 – free
Please be sure to check the museum website (listed under “Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum”) for updated opening hours and admission fees as they could change at any time.
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I was out and about with Scotch and Wee Scotch one day when a shop assistant said to us, “Have you heard of Posh Paws in Sharjah? No? You should take your son there. They have a petting zoo. Look them up on Facebook. ”
So I did and I found out that in addition to being a boarding kennel and cattery, they also have an animal sanctuary and petting farm.
We went there a few weekends ago and as usual, got lost, but eventually found it. There seemed to be a birthday party going on with kids running around and a few other visitors with young children.
Once again, Wee Scotch loved seeing the animals from his storybooks come to life.
Here is a slideshow of some of the animals at the santuary (may not be visible on mobile devises and email):
There were quite a lot of animals there, all in need of a good home. Near the entrance, there was this sign detailing the animals available for adoption as well as donation needs and volunteer opportunities:
Getting there: From Dubai Marina, it took us about 50 minutes door-to-door with no weekend traffic. We took Sheikh Zayed Road to Emirates Road to E-611. We then took exit 84 and turned right towards Al Zubair. We drove exactly 4 km down the road and turned right onto a dirt trail with a gate (GPS coordinates: N 25 22.021, E 055 40.264). Check the Posh Paws website for more info.
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm, 7 days/week.
Office Contact Number: +971 050 2730973.
Please be sure to check their website or call for updated opening hours as they could change at any time.