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Up and close with farm animals

Lily B. Libo-on / 30 June 2012

The experience of getting close to farm animals, feeding them and making animal farm models using rubbish is as rare as going to the zoo.

In Sharjah Desert Park, the Children’s Farm is offering this rare opportunity to the kids coming not only from the other emirates but also from the other Middle East countries, who feel this excitement in real terms. No wonder, as many as 95,343 people visited the farm in 2011.

The number of visitors is growing. Maryam Matter Ali, manager of the Children’s Farm, proudly says that daily, more than 400 individuals, of whom nearly 300 are Indians, come to the Children’s Farm.

“On weekends, the visitors are more. Between 600 and 700 drive their way to the Desert Park to be part of the hundreds of families and kids going to the Children’s Farm,” she says.

Schools top the booking list, from nursery to high schools in the UAE, the GCC and Middle East countries. Nearly schools book for visiting the farm every week.

Experiencing the pleasure and joy watching the domesticated animals and be in harmony with them are the key to the visit. Kids celebrate this special meeting with 10 types of animals and birds at the Children’s Farm: camels, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, cows, ducks, chicken, doves and peacocks.

Ragat, 11-year-old boy, said he and his family flew from Saudi Arabia to see these animals. “I am happy to feed this camel from my hand,” he said smiling.

His brother Walid, 8, was excited that he could touch the animals and feed them.

Truly, the Children’s Farm is what the kids need. Here, the visiting kids can touch the animals with their hands and feed them from their hands. Camels, goats, donkeys, they all come near to the kids waiting to be fed.

Saudi Arabian Adam Al Mengash is so delighted seeing their kids enjoying the time feeding and touching the domesticated animals in the Children’s Farm. He came to the farm with wife, two sons and two daughters.

This is the Outdoor Section experience, which is primarily concerned with the positive interaction between the child and the animal by means of providing special food for the farm animals. “This will make the child able to feed and ride the horse, camel or donkey at any one time while in the Children’s Farm,” Ali says.

Knowing the animals fully is also achieved through interactive activities like learning how to milk the cows with a model filled with water that comes out when the kids do the milking.

Exhibits of  laban, milk, yoghurt and cheese products from cows are also provided with briefing by the staff of the farm.

In the Indoor Section, the second portion of the Children’s Farm, the children undergo educational programme during which they are taught how to make model farms using recycled papers. Guiding lectures, colouring of recycled papers and watching scientific exhibitions make the knowledge complete in a day.

Ali says that the kids can see, observe and experience through an egg incubator the moment of birth by watching the eggs hatch and chicks making their way to life. “They can watch the new chick or duckling come out of the egg shell and start to move around in an amazing display,” she says.

Supporting their knowledge transfer is the small library providing a selection of educational and scientific books, stories, and magazines which serve as a good reference for school children and farm visitors.

A big plasma screen continues to play documentaries and show different animals, their life and their needs and environmental films in the classroom at the Indoor Section.

Kids visit the farm with their families or in school groups or through summer centres in the UAE, GCC and the Middle East meeting the objective of the Sharjah Government in setting up the Children’s Farm in 1997 to educate the public, particularly families and kids, about  domesticated animals.

lily@khaleejtimes.com

 
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