Traveling to another country with children can be exciting and eye-opening, especially if that country has an ancestral connection for your family. At the same time, it can be nerve-wracking trying to find kid-friendly tourist destinations that offer the right balance of fun and educational.
With so much Jewish history and culture to offer, Israel is a wonderful place to visit. It has enough variety to please family members of all ages, and because of its size, it’s possible to hit most of the major stops in one vacation. Here are some particularly kid-friendly places not to miss on your trip.
Image by David king via wikimedia.org
This medieval castle has something for everyone: tunnels, secret passageways, and spiral staircases for the energetic kids and breathtaking views of the Golan Heights for vista lovers of all ages. The site is maintained by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and offers visitors the unique opportunity to literally walk through history.
If your family loves PJ Library books like Chicken Man and Stork’s Landing, add a visit to a real life kibbutz to your trip list. A kibbutz is a collective community (often a farm) originally based on a cooperative system of communal participation. Many of the more than 250 kibbutzim (plural) in Israel are open to visitors, even for overnight stays. Tourist Israel has a list of some of the kibbutzim that are open for visitors.
The Dead Sea
Playing in mud and floating without a raft or float toy? These are the things that make the Dead Sea a popular tourist attraction for kids and adults. Sitting at the lowest elevation on land, the Dead Sea is about ten times saltier than the world’s oceans, which means that nothing grows in it (“Dead” Sea) and you can float in the water just by sitting or lying down in it. The Dead Sea mud is also said to have healing properties, but of course the real appeal for kids is just getting to spread it all over themselves.
Aqua Kef in Lower Galilee
The Aqua Kef water park, along the Sea of Galilee south of Tiberias, is like a huge inflatable city. It’s a sprawling collection of floating trampolines, slides, and climbing walls, which are perfect for cooling off if you’re visiting during the hot summer months.
Western Wall Tunnels
The Western Wall is perhaps Israel’s most famous destination for visitors, but you can get an entirely different perspective walking underground through the excavated tunnel that burrows down to the original street level. That means you’ll be walking along the original streets of ancient Jerusalem. Children will love this special view beneath the Wall, where you’ll see stone arches and an old aqueduct.
Neot Kedumim Park
About 10 minutes from Ben Gurion Airport, there’s a nature reserve that brings the Bible to life. Neot Kedumim calls itself “the only Biblical Landscape Reserve in the world,” and features 625 acres of gardens with species taken directly from ancient Jewish texts. Kids can experience sheep herding, tree planting, and Biblical cooking demos.
Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Officially the “Tisch Family Zoological Gardens,” the zoo in Jerusalem is known as the “Biblical Zoo” because it features species of animals from the Bible. If you’re looking for a way to combine Torah study with lessons about tza’ar ba’alei chayim (kindness to animals), this zoo’s focus on wildlife conservation does just that.
Bloomfield Science Museum
Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem was built with kids in mind, and it’s just the right kind of diversion on a long sightseeing day. Check out the exhibits about water-pumping, nuclear energy, and Mars exploration.
If you’re traveling north along the coast from Tel-Aviv, it’s worth stopping at Atzmaut Square in the city of Netanya. Besides the shops and restaurants parents will appreciate, the kids will enjoy running through the magical fountain that lights up at night.
Jaffa Slope Park
Whether you just need to stretch your legs with a beautiful seaside walk or want to fly a kite in the expanse of green, Jaffa Slope Park in Tel Aviv is the perfect casual stop. Pack a lunch, find a picnic spot (there are plenty), and soak up the Mediterranean.
Looking for more about traveling to Israel? Check out these books.
June 26, 2019