- Sightseeing, Tours Type
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One of Abu Dhabi's more obscure attractions is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital: This functioning animal care unit is devoted to the health of falcons, which have long played an important role in Emirati society. Falconry has been practiced in the UAE for thousands of years: Bedouins used falcons to help them hunt and scavenge for food. Today, falconry is more of a sport than a necessity as hunting is now restricted in Abu Dhabi. But the birds are still revered — domesticated falcons are even granted their own UAE passports. Having opened in 1999, the ADFH cares for more than 8,500 falcons each year.
If you're interested in learning more about falconry, the hospital offers two-hour guided tours of its facility. The tour stops at several points of interest, including the falconry museum, the hospital's exam rooms and the aviary, where the birds are free to fly around at their leisure. "Not only is the tour informational, it was exciting," one TripAdvisor user recalled. "We got to watch a minor surgery, grooming, and much more." Another highlight of the tour is the opportunity to balance a falcon on your arm — souvenir photos are included in the cost of the tour.
You'll find the ADFH near Abu Dhabi International Airport on the mainland, about 25 miles east of central Abu Dhabi city. The easiest way to get there is by taxi. Tours are offered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Admission is 170 AED (around $46 USD) for adults and 60 AED (just over $16 USD) for children ages 5 to 9; children younger than 5 years old can tag along for free. To learn more about the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, visit the facility's website.