The King Abdullah Monument is a tribute to the late King Abdullah who was the visionary that put the wheels of KAUST into motion in 2007. This unique monument of glass, balloon-type lights and fountains of water creates a peaceful atmosphere in which you can wander the exhibit highlighting the king's dream of a university that would serve as an example to the rest of the world - where people from all places work together for the common good of mankind. He is often quoted saying, "The university shall be a beacon for peace, hope, and reconciliation and shall serve the people of the Kingdom and benefit all the peoples of the world."
It would probably seem that once you've been to the monument once, you really don't have to go back. But there are a lot of reasons one might make the trek out to the monument (it's about 6km from our driveway to the monument roundtrip).
- People often use this as an exercise route. You will often hear cyclists, runners, and even rollerbladers say, "Oh, I went out to the monument and back this morning." But if you haven't used this as a cycling path before, I feel I must caution you. Once you hit the road that goes out to the monument, there's literally no turning back. There is a semi-hefty median in the middle of the road the entire way, so if you commit, you've got to grit your teeth and finish it. And sometimes you really have to grit your teeth because it's extremely windy out there most of the time!
- When the weather is nice, people often have picnics on the grass surrounding the monument. There are also playgrounds for kids to enjoy.
- When KAUST hosts big events (like during graduation festivities in the spring), there is often a night when there are food trucks that park around the monument, and people mill about eating and talking.
- On weekends in the spring, there were several afternoon events with bouncy houses and other fun outdoor activities for families.
- The King Abdullah Monument also hosted the traveling exhibit "King Abdullah: Values and Wisdom," honoring the late king. This collection of artifacts, personal belongings, and photographs are a tribute to his life and legacy, and this special exhibit even drew a visit from one of the princes of Saudi Arabia! This exhibit stopped here on it's countrywide tour before finding a permanent home in Riyadh.
What kind of fun outdoor places are near you? Comment below!