Oman is known for its frankincense, an aromatic tree resin derived from the frankincense tree, boswellia sacra. Frankincense is a product of the ancient world, used for incense, perfume, and traditional medicine. In Oman, frankincense is burned in a clay burner called a majmar. Paint your own replica majmar with traditional Omani patterns to take home. Come early–we have a limited supply of majmars available!
Sea Turtle Toy
Thousands of sea turtles migrate annually from the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the waters off Somalia to lay their eggs on the shores of Oman. Out of the world’s seven species of sea turtle, five species are found in Omani waters. A fishing village called Ras Al Hadd is renowned for its population of nesting endangered green sea turtles. Learn more about turtles while making your own sea turtle toy.
Omani mandoos, also known as “wedding dowry chests,” have a rich history in Oman. Traditionally, bridal gifts or dowries are presented in these ornate wooden chests. The exterior is often painted in a variety of colors, though red, the traditional marriage color, is the most popular. The surface is hand-decorated with brass plates and studs, forming designs and patterns unique to the region from which a specific mandoos originated. The interior can contain drawers, candle boxes, and secret compartments, and locks and handles come in a variety of styles. Create your own cardboard mandoos and decorate it!
Oman is a Muslim country where people cover themselves to dress modestly and protect their skin from the hot sun. Traditionally, men wear a long white robe called a disdasha with a kumah cap to cover the head, and women wear a colorful dress called a thobe or disdasha top and sarwal pants, along with waqaya and/or lahaf headcovering underneath a long black dress called an abaya. Come try on a disdasha or thobe, and pose in front of our green screen Oman backdrop.
Arabic Name Writing
One of the key aspects of a nation’s culture is its language. Participants will learn to write their name in Arabic on printed card stock that has an Arabesque border on it. After writing their names, participants can then color in or decorate the border, and take a bit of Arab culture back home with them.
Ornamental Hinged Door Structures
According to a resident from the village of Samya in Oman, a desert village 150 miles west of Muscat, “doors have been one of the most important forms of decorative expression to be found in Omani buildings. Doors are often the first thing a guest sees when they are entering your home, and you want to make a good impression” (Omani Ministry of Education). In celebration of these ornamental portals, children will use cardboard, dowels, straws, paint and other materials to build a structure with a decorative hinged door.
Nearly every Omani city and town has a fort, most of which were built during the Al-Yarubi dynasty between 1624 and 1744. Omani forts are of Arabic design, with some Persian and Portuguese influence. Forts were prepared to withstand long sieges with water wells, food storing capacity, and secret tunnels ending many kilometers away from the walls of the fort. In this collaborative construction activity, visitors will help construct a giant Omani fort, with traditional Omani architectural features.
Dyeing indigo is a process that has been practiced for approximately 5,000 years, and is one of the traditional arts practiced in Oman. In this activity, visitors will use wax, rubber bands, and clips to wrap a piece of cloth and then experiment with indigo dyeing. This activity will be offered hourly for kids in grades 2 and up for an additional $5 materials fee.
Middle Eastern lantern
These traditional dome-shaped lanterns feature beautiful designs and clear glass panels, framed in metal that has been hand cut into intricate lattice patterns. Visitors will design and assemble their own lanterns, using optional LED lights to illuminate their light (optional materials fee).
Map a trip around Oman
Using tiny robots, called Ozobots, visitors will be able to map their trip around Oman, choosing which Omani landmarks to visit in their travels.