Jerusalem is a great family travel destination. There are activities for kids of all ages including interactive games that teach history, extreme sports, nature activities, art experiences, food, culture and more. The summer city calendar is filled with special exhibitions, festivals and events. It’s hard to choose the top 10 but as the editor of Fun In Jerusalem we test out each activity on our own little focus group and these are our picks.
1. Bambu Exhibit at the Israel Museum: Climb through this incredible art installation made entirely of bamboo. You won’t believe how strong bamboo can be. See views of Jerusalem and hear the wind whistle through the trees. Family Tip: Don’t take kids under 6 and wear good closed shoes (guards will not allow you on with flip flops, slip ons or heels)
2. The Machine Inside at the Bloomfield Science Museum: This new exhibit comes straight from the Field Museum in Chicago. Kids can learn in a hands on experience how man innovates using animals as inspiration. The exhibit hall is heavily air conditioned. Family Tips: Make sure to stay for the show at 1pm and to take your kids to at least one of the workshops
3. The Shuk Dash: The Mahane Yehuda Market also known as the Shuk is a great place to experience smells, taste and the variety of cultures in Jerusalem. This fun and exciting game is a great way to entertain the kids. Family Tip: Reserve a private game or join a pay per person Shuk Dash.
4. Ropes Course at Ammunition Hill: If your kids like extreme sports and being active then this is the perfect activity to do in such a unique location symbolizing Jerusalem’s history. Family Tip: This activity can be great for the whole family. The guide gears the challenges to the age of the kids.
5. Segway Ride at the Armon Hanetziv Promenade (16+): Take a ride on Jerusalem’s most modern form of transportation and feel like you are flying while you hear stories about Jerusalem’s history and neighborhoods of today. The Promenade in Armon Hanetziv has a great view over the Old City. Family Tip: Great activity for a 16 year old birthday gift.
6. Jerusalem Beach at First Station: YES there is a beach in Jerusalem with sand, simulated surf machine, umbrellas and beach toys. This is one of my favorite new places in Jerusalem. No matter day or night you will feel the great vibe at the First Station. Family Tip: This is also a great place to rent a family bike to take down Milton’s Way at Smart Tour.
7. talkcafé: There is no better way to learn some key new Hebrew phrases than from a Talkcafe. Grab a coffee and enjoy a relaxed Hebrew conversation led by a moderator in one of Jerusalem’s favorite cafes. Family Tip: Talkcafe has just introduced the Choko Talk for kids. Tourist kids can learn new words in Hebrew and local kids can learn words they will be hearing on the playground.
8. ATV in the Desert: Take a guided tour in a trektaron (all terrain vehicle) through Midbar Yehuda just south of Maale Adumim. Drivers must have a license but this is a great family activity. Family Tip: Ask the guide to include a stop at a local Bedouin tent
9. National Parks: Visit one of the many Israeli National Parks this summer near Jerusalem. For history visit Castel, Ir David, Beit Guvrin Caves or Masada. For natural beauty visit the Stalactite Caves and Ein Hemed. Family Tip: If you plan to take your whole family and visit more than one park make sure to purchase the National Parks Family Membership in advance. It comes with lots of great savings.
10. Jerusalem Festivals: The summer calendar in Jerusalem is filled with festivals the entire family can enjoy including the Children’s Film Festival, International Puppet Festival, Formula One The Peace Road, Hutzot Haoyotzer and the Jerusalem Theater End of Summer Festival.
Family Tip: Check the concert schedule at Hutzot Hayotzer before you decide which night to go. The concert is included in the ticket price and showcases Israel’s best talent.
If you are looking for some new and creative idea check out a list of FUN Things to Do in Jerusalem and choose the type of activity you most enjoy.
Author’s Note: As I am writing this piece the rockets continue to fall across the country, being shot from Gaza. I hope that Operation Protective Edge will end quickly but in the meantime stay informed about what to do during a Red Alert siren at Jerusalem’s most popular attractions.