Summer Activities for Kids in Israel
BY Lee Saunders DATE 20/08/2019
We’ve all seen the movie Home Alone a thousand times. The fear of leaving the kid at home or more horrifically what to do with them at home over the summer vacation can be terrifying.
Visits to grandma – check. Playdates – check. Screen-time – check. But you can’t always expect your 3-13-year-olds to behave in a mall or share your love of trekking. We’ll help you find something to satisfy all ages and interests to push you through till we send them off to school again.
Israel was built and designed for the education, enjoyment and growth of the next generation. From the most energetic little ones to the moodiest of teenagers, there are activities to excite, stimulate and entertain, while preserving parents’ sanity too during these hot summer months.
Among some of our favorite activities is Sky Jump Park, one of the largest indoor venues in Israel for jumping and climbing experiences. Let the kids burn off their energy, have fun and improve their fitness in this highly professional and supervised complex at their two locations, Raanana and at the port of North Tel Aviv Sky Jump offers fun and safe climbing walls, lively ball baths, challenging basketball ramps, and dozens of trampolines available for three-year-olds and upwards.
In addition to sports, there are enough animal-related activities to fascinate young minds. This summer’s theme for children across all of the Danyland kids’ clubs at Dan Hotels is connected to the love of animals. In the courtyard of Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum, you’ll find one of the largest summer exhibitions for children in Tel Aviv. For six weeks only from July 20, the Midsummer Night Animals features about 30 giant sculptures of animals, including peacocks, elephants, snakes, lions, crocodiles, and more, all born out of the imagination of sculptor, Aharale Ben-Arieh, all allowing the visitor to move and interact with them, opening kids up to a whole new world. Not far away is the almost 70-year-old Ramat Gan Safari, just 30 minutes’ drive from the Dan Tel Aviv, which combines the safari and zoo experience in the heart of the big city.
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Drive your car (or take a safari bus) through the open-air exhibits, then enter the zoo area for a closer look at the Middle East’s largest collection of furry and feathery friends across 250 acres – home to more than 100 species of birds, 80 species of mammals and 25 species of reptiles. Although newer, since it opened in 1993, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem also attracts more than 750,000 visitors a year. Among 170 species of animals, the zoo hosts the world’s largest collection of animals mentioned in the Bible, as well as many other creatures in natural habitats. The complex allows kids to ride a train around the grounds and enjoy an animal-themed play area and petting zoo, while nearby there is the Israel Aquarium.
There are even more fascinating creatures on display at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, which opened last September. Here, in a 9,620 square meter complex next to the Tel Aviv University, you can learn about the Great Bird Migration, marvel at Bugs and Beyond and discover the Web of Life and how we are all connected.
The amazing Lunada, one of the most fun museums for kids in Israel, combines the natural world and the fun outdoors.Located in the southern city of Beersheba, a nice day trip from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, this three-story facility sits on a 4,000 square meter site and is divided into zones. Comprising eight knowledge spaces, over 50 exhibits and installations, and unique outdoor play areas, such as The Children’s Park, kids and parents can easily while away a full day. The outside space on 15 acres, has a lake, an island with a Pirate Ship, an amphitheater, giant playground zone, not to mention the famous ‘Chutes and Ladders,’ allowing the kids to climb up and slide down an outdoor version of the famous board game.
Learning about nature is one way to entertain, but learning about the land has never been more interesting at Beit Guvrin National Park, a perfect escape from the scorching sun. The park offers the chance to ‘Dig for a Day,’ an activity geared towards families. What kid does not enjoy digging in dirt? This actual excavation allows you to explore underground and look for artifacts from the days of the Maccabees, over 2,000 years ago. With younger children given plastic tools and older kids using real excavation tools under the supervision of experts, this national park allows you to check out some of Israel’s most famous caves and learn about nature, geology and ancient history.
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If you want your magic and history to be more recent, the Dizengoff Mall in Tel Aviv is hosting a Harry Potter extravaganza until the end of August. Look at special merchandise brought over from the London studios and take your photograph, dressed as a wizard at Hogwarts.
If you would rather see the dive than dig, splash than explore, then head north up the Mediterranean coast, past Herzliya, towards the Shefayim Water Park, the first and largest water park in Israel. Having opened in 1984, the park stretches over 100 acres and offers the young at heart 26 surfing trails, 8 water parks, tubing, kamikaze slides and ‘Caribbean beaches.’
Switch off Netflix. Bring Grandma. And go enjoy.
Written by Lee Saunders