Image by Dan Kitwood Getty Images
Standing outside Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, watching anxious owners from across the region delivering their hooded 'patients' in person, you will quickly realise that this is a much-needed and much-loved facility. Falcons are an integral part of traditional Gulf culture, and no expense is spared in restoring these magnificent birds to full health. Tours include visits to the falcon museum, the examination room – including intimate glimpses into coping procedures – and the free-flight aviary. Tour reservations (bookable online) are mandatory.
If you're willing to brave an arm, the well-behaved raptors will even perch for a photograph.
The hospital is about 6km southeast of Abu Dhabi airport. Coming from central Abu Dhabi, follow Airport Rd (E20) to Sweihan Rd in the direction of Falah City; about 3km past the junction with Hwy E11, turn right after the water tank (before exit 30A) and follow the signs to the hospital.