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Sharks and seahorses seen in Sharjah

By Staff

More than 5,000 people plunged into a world beneath the waves at the very first Sharjah Aquarium Carnival.

The four-day festival from February 25-28 turned the outdoor area at Sharjah Aquarium into a virtual ocean, complete with marine-inspired acrobatics, theatrical performances and educational workshops.

The free-to-enter event was a great opportunity for visitors both young and old to learn about the UAE's marine ecosystem and why we must preserve it.

Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: "It was wonderful to see so many people of different ages enjoy the underwater world we created for them and learn so much about different types of marine life.

"We are very proud to have given the UAE community a completely unique entertainment experience and it was hugely rewarding to see visitors' reactions.

"The emphasis of the carnival was on family fun and creating a stunning visual and audio spectacle, but we also have a long-term goal to boost people's understanding of marine biodiversity so that future generations are aware of the importance of looking after our oceans."

In the weeks running up to the festival, teams from Sharjah Museums Department worked around the clock in the outdoor area at Sharjah Aquarium to make it resemble an ocean environment.

Life-size models of marine species common to the UAE's waters, such as sharks, rays, jellyfish and seahorses were used to decorate the area, while bubble machines, turquoise light displays and music added to the aquamarine atmosphere.

The highlight of the festival was the wide range of theatrical shows performed on a stage decorated with sunken galleys, ship anchors, sea plant life and corals.

One dancer performed a display of acrobatics inside a giant orb floating on water, while others incorporated bubbles and aquatic-inspired movements into contemporary dance.
There was also an education element to the festival, allowing families and children to learn about the species of marine life inhabiting the UAE's coastal areas. Visitors of different ages took part in artistic workshops that involved crafting fish shapes from sand and learned from a series of interactive learning stations.

Those who wanted to learn more about the world of the deep sea were invited to head to Sharjah Aquarium to see a diverse mixture of sea creatures in its 20 aquariums.

Ataya said: "We were delighted with the community's reaction to our very first aquarium carnival and can assure them that it will be a permanent fixture of the Sharjah calendar. We're looking at ways of making it bigger and better next year and can't wait to welcome everyone back."