Founders memorial Abu Dhbai lit up at night

Exploring The Founder’s Memorial Abu Dhabi

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Where to find the beautiful Sheikh Zayed memorial in Abu Dhabi

The UAE government recently opened this beautiful memorial to honour the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. The people of the UAE loved Sheikh Zayed very much for all the great things he brought to the country.

This is not your typical tourist spot in Abu Dhabi, but we nonetheless recommend a visit to learn more about the story of the Founding Father of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

What to Expect visiting the Founders Memorial

Opened in 2018 to mark 100 years since the birth of Sheikh Zayed, the Founder’s Memorial includes a welcome centre, a stunning monument, and beautifully manicured gardens to be explored.

The Constellation

The centrepiece of the Founders Memorial is a public artwork known as the Constellation, a 3-dimensional model of the founding father’s face housed inside a 30m high Pavillion.

Made up of 1,327 geometric shapes suspended from 1,110 cables, it is especially beautiful at night when thousands of lights illuminate to form the face of Sheikh Zayed.

Night view of the constellation founders memorial in Abu Dhabi in front of Etihad Twoers lit up at night
Night view of the Founders Memorial sitting beneath Etihad Towers at the end of the Corniche

Founders Memorial Welcome Centre

In the adjoining building, come and enjoy a documentary and multimedia experience that explains more of the life story and achievements of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Staff are also available here to take you on a tour (tours are free but must pre-book). Larger groups should pre-book only by appointment

The Gardens at the Founder’s Memorial

Several gardens surround the Constellation. There is an elevated walkway, providing visitors with an excellent view of the Constellation as well as inspiring quotes of Sheikh Zayed on plaques displayed around the walkway.

The Sanctuary Garden sits in front of the public memorial, featuring local Ghaf and Sidr trees and many other local species.

Falaj Water Channel has been designed as a prominent water feature of the gardens. It is inspired by the ancient irrigation system known as the aflaj, which provided water to the UAE’s people for centuries.

The Heritage Garden is a carefully curated section of the gardens populated with local plants known for their traditional uses, including Desert Cotton, Henna and Toothbrush Tree. This is a small but fascinating and educational display.

Where to Find the Founders Memorial Abu Dhabi

You’ll find the Founders Memorial beside Emirates Palace Hotel, at the corner of Corniche Road and 18th Street in Abu Dhabi.

Coming along the Abu Dhabi Corniche heading west, it is straight ahead of you before you come to the Palace on your right, or as you turn towards Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, it will be on your left.

If you head towards Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, then u-turn at the next lights, it will take you back to a more convenient car park right next to the visitor centre.

The Visit Abu Dhabi complimentary shuttle bus (route B1) and the Big Bus Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour also stop here for visitors’ convenience (or you can just take a snap from the bus as you head in the direction of Qasr Al Watan).

Day time view of the stunning constellation Founders Memorial in Abu Dhabi

If you are staying at any of the hotels along the west end of the Corniche (such as The St Regis, Radisson Blu, Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers or Grand Hyatt) it makes for a wonderful evening walk within easy distance.

Opening Times and Cost for The Founders Memorial

Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 10pm

Entry to the Founders Memorial is free

You can join in with complimentary tours held every 30 minutes in Arabic and English. Spots for these are limited; you should advance book your visit here, though spots can be available on a walk-up basis.

Etiquette for the Founder’s Memorial Abu Dhabi

Although not a religious building, it’s a place of quiet contemplation and reflection. You should be respectful of other visitors and observe rules and regulations posted on site.

Women are not required to be dressed in an abaya or full head covering but should be mindful of the dress code and etiquette in Abu Dhabi public places. We explain this in a lot more detail here.

Learn More About the UAE’s Culture and History

History buffs and the culturally curious wanting to learn more about the UAE’s past and its Founding Fathers are highly recommended to spend some time on their trip to Abu Dhabi visiting the historic city of Al Ain.

Al Ain – also called the Oasis City – is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed and the Al Ain Palace Museum, his former home, has some interesting displays explaining more about his family tree and early life in the Emirates, in times before the discovery of oil.

Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.

Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

Feature image courtesy media gallery

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