First look: New Sharjah park celebrates region's unique geology

Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre features an immersive theatre and cafe with panoramic views, was designed by Hopkins Architects and is inspired by the region’s prehistoric fossils

Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre opened its doors to the public on Monday, January 20. The new attraction uses interactive displays to help people learn more about the region’s rich geological history.

The centre, 48 kilometres south-east of the city of Sharjah, is on the former seabed of the Al Madam Plain, a region of geological significance that is home to marine fossils up to 65 million years old.

The design of the building pays tribute to the emirate’s history. The centre is designed by Hopkins Architects, an architectural practice based in London, which has an office in Dubai  and is currently completing a tranche of the buildings for the Expo 2020 in Dubai. The inspiration behind the Buhais Geology Park's unique design, which consists of five interconnected pods, comes from the region’s prehistoric fossils.

Visitors can expect model-based interactive displays that explore Sharjah’s mountains and sand dunes, as evidence of the area’s tectonic history over the years, and shed light on the creation of the limestone mountain ranges of Jebel Buhais, and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to examine local rocks and fossils.

The facility features a ramp leading to a central hub and exhibition areas, and an outdoor trail that links the pods. The trail incorporates viewing areas, walkways across geological sites, unusual rock formations and ancient burial grounds, and is designed to encourage visitors to explore the mountainous region.

Other facilities available at the newly opened Geology Park are an immersive theatre, a cafe with panoramic views of Jebel Buhais and a gift shop.

The new facility is the latest of a slew of learning centres operated by Sharjah’s Environmental Protected Areas Authority, which aims to provide educational experiences and manage protected areas in the region.

The Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre is open from 9am to 7.30pm, Sundays to Thursdays; 2pm to 7.30pm on Fridays and 11am to 7.30pm on Saturdays, and is closed on Tuesdays.