Students test seawater samples in one of the Aqaba Marine Park’s partnership programmes with local schools (Photo courtesy of the AMP)
Students test seawater samples in one of the Aqaba Marine Park’s partnership programmes with local schools (Photo courtesy of the AMP)

By Susan Lawrence Helke

AMMAN – Most often associated with marine activities and the white sandy beaches of Aqaba, the Aqaba Marine Park (AMP) is providing much more in services to local citizens and visitors alike.

Located 15 kilometres from downtown Aqaba, the marine park visitors centre is considered by AMP staff as its most important tool in raising visitors’ awareness on Aqaba’s marine environment and the need to protect and preserve it, according to Hamzeh Al Mohaisen, head of the public awareness division at the AMP.

The visitors centre consists not only of the park management offices but also a multi-purpose auditorium, a marine library, a seashell museum, a knowledge centre, a restaurant and a Sea Hall with exhibitions including videos and slides on underwater life in Aqaba.

The centre works to facilitate education and outreach programmes using displays, lectures and slideshows in addition to specific marine activities, primarily for local schools whose students’ lives are affected by the sea.

“Primarily we act as a resource centre for the advancement of marine conservation activities in Aqaba and the region,” Mohaisen said in an e-mail statement sent to The Jordan Times.

“We use posters, flyers and brochures which are designed by AMP staff and distributed in the visitor centre. We also have underwater films about the beauty of marine life in Aqaba in our Sea Hall in both Arabic and English,” he said.

During the school year, the AMP trains around 400 youths in cooperation with the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan through lectures and outdoor activities related to the marine environment in Aqaba, he said.

After the training, members transfer what they learn to their school colleagues through environmental days, school radio or plays.

“At the end of the year, we evaluate the top five schools which have best used the knowledge they gained and award them with certificates and gifts,” Mohaisen added.

During this year’s summer school break, marine park staff were involved in an awareness programme for children of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) staff in cooperation with the tourism directorate at ASEZA, which focused on saving and protecting the marine environment in Aqaba.

Eighty students between the ages of nine and 13 participated in camping, environment lectures, beach clean-ups, swimming and a marine tour in a glass bottom boat during which they observed divers cleaning up rubbish from a dive site.

Each year, the AMP creates a special calendar for the holy month of Ramadan displaying prayer times, which is distributed in Aqaba to businesses, government offices, corporations, hotels, schools and mosques, urging people to protect the marine environment by using messages based on Islamic guidelines to protect the environment.

According to AMP Manager Abdullah Abu Awalah, future plans include boosting partnerships with businesses and educational facilities in Aqaba, such as the new University of Jordan campus in Aqaba and investment companies on the south coast, to raise student and employee knowledge on ecological issues.

During Ramadan, the AMP visitors centre is open Saturday-Thursday during the morning. During the Eid holidays and the rest of the year, the centre is open Saturday-Thursday from 8:00am until sunset.

For further information, the AMP can be reached at or Their website is