A four day festival of marine life has opened at the Sharjah Aquarium to help educate and inform about the importance of preserving marine ecosystems around the UAE.
Families have been enjoying free sea themed entertainment shows including life-size models of mermaids, octopus, sharks and seahorses in a setting to reinforce the virtual marine environment.
The aquarium has been complemented by a fun beach, theatre, hand crafts and mosaic workshops.
“The carnival has everything to benefit kids, and entertain the whole family, especially the theater,” said Waseem Sadiq, 38, an Egyptian father of sons aged 4 and 2.
“It is educating and entertaining for the kids, and a good place for them to learn and have fun at the same time.
“They enjoyed the theatre, and the workshops are very creative.”
Marwa Barakat, 36, a teacher from Egypt, visited the carnival for the first time with her husband and two daughters.
“I loved the ambience, especially the water show,” she said.
Ola Reda, a 31-year-old school supervisor from Egypt, brought her daughters, 8 and 5, to learn the importance of protecting marine life.
“I wanted to bring my daughters on their weekend here to enjoy their time, but also learn about aquatic life,” she said.
“The event is a good combination of education and entertainment.”
Ms Reda’s daughter Noor Mustafa, 8, loved the water acrobatic shows and learnt an important lesson.
“From the shows and plays, I discovered throwing garbage in the sea will kill and hurt marine creatures, so we should be protecting them.”
The UAE has labelled 10 per cent of its oceans as marine protected zones, prompting Yale University to award it a “best rating” in its Environmental Protection Index.
Festival organisers hope visitors will take away an important conservation message from the event.
“The festival aims to send a message to the new generation about the importance of marine life and protecting it,” said Rashid Juma Al Shamsi, curator of Sharjah Aquarium.
Sharjah Aquarium Carnival will run until February 26, and is open from 5.30-10pm.