There are, as usual, an incredible number of ways to make the most of your Pesach break. Here are ten ways to enjoy Israel with matzah in hand!
1. Free Days Out!
Once again, Bank Hapoalim are sponsoring an array of fantastic museums and sites across the country. Click here for the full list in English. These are, of course, very popular attractions but it is worthwhile to use the opportunity of visiting for free to places you may not otherwise go to! Beat the crowds by heading there early so that you can leave by the time most visitors arrive and hopefully avoid traffic jams. New this year is ‘Map & Matzah’ — 12 Heritage sites across the country that are offering free tours and workshops!
These Heritage site activities include, water canal walks, workshops, face-painting, games, puzzles and quizzes, bubbles, mud-building, an exhibition of tractors, circus blocks, riding in a “Tarzina” and drumming circles. Sites will be offering tours, activities and diverse musical performances, including Israeli poetry performances and contemporary rock concerts. Among the artists participating in the festival: Yuval Dayan, Amir Benayoun, Shachar Ariel, Alma Zohar, Assaf Ashtar, Saba Tuvia and more. Each site represent its story accompanied by dance, theater, music for all ages, and will reflect on Israeli history since the beginning of Zionism until today. (Photo credit Itai Belson)
This year there are circuses, festivals, shows and exhibitions on offer especially for the Pesach vacation. These are suitable for all ages and offer a chance for something really unique and memorable for the whole family. We are most excited to see what the Geek Festival (Gan Sacher, Jerusalem) will be like – coming all the way from Russia, it promises to be a very special event and you should get your tickets now! Shanghai Circus, which is running shows at different locations (and will be in Tel Aviv for Pesach) looks like an unbelievable show as well. (Photo credit Yoav Etiel).
Once again, Automotor looks set to offer an impressive display of all sorts of vehicles, including some beautiful cars and showcasing fun demonstrations for visitors. Motor Extreme will be bringing extreme riders from abroad for a one-night-only outdoor performance in Park Hayarkon — sounds like fantastic fun!
Click here for a list of lots more shows!
Pesach falls at a perfect time of year, and Pesach just wouldn’t be the same without taking your matzah picnic somewhere! Pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks and explore beauty spots around Israel. National Parks are a great way to start and many of them will have special events over Pesach. Don’t forget many of theses parks offer ‘Pekach Tzeirim’ ‘Young Detective’ booklets for only 10 shekel (or free, downloaded from their website) that give the youth in your group ideas of what to look out for on the hike as well as some interesting facts about where you are trekking. If you buy the booklet, when you come back to the end you get a great badge that you can start collecting for all the sites! Apart from National Parks (which are free for members), other popular sites or experiences are Ramat Hanadiv, Neot Kedumim — which has special Pesach activities or why not splurge and actually experience Exodus, dressed up as a shepherd at Kfar Kedem?!
This year, especially for Pesach, 45 beaches will open early to ensure safe swimming across the country. Click here for a list of the beaches that will have lifeguards over the holidays. This includes beaches along the Kinneret, the Mediterranean Sea, Dead Sea and Red Sea.
5. Flowers and Fruit!
Strawberry season is coming to an end so make the most of the holiday to pick your own perfect strawberries! Book a visit on the Salad Trail in the South, or pick your own beautiful bunch of flowers for your table at various places such as Kedma (Beer Tuvia) or Sadot (near Hadera).
6. Arts & Crafts!
Book a carpentry workshop your children will never forget at Soos V’agala, visit Ein Yael for biblical crafts or book a paper making workshop in Zichron Yaakov, tie dye in the Golan, or make soaps in Kfar Saba. These not only provide you hands-on professional experience of these crafts, but they are fun, great across all ages, and create really special family time.
7. Active Fun!
Some fantastic places are opening up all over Israel! iJump is an impressive indoor trampoline-world suitable for most ages, and now has a branch in Petach Tikva and a new one in Haifa. Be sure to fill in the Insurance form before you get there to save time and call before you go in case the wait is very long. Iclimb is the fantastic new big version of the already popular Boulderland and Funtopia in Kfar Saba — with an amazing climbing wall for older kids and stunning themed walls for younger climbers — this is a great activity. Not to forget Dov Halavan in Emek Hefer which encourages the grown-ups to get involved with high tight-rope walking and bungee jumps!
8. Animal Antics!
Haifa Zoo is included on the free sponsored sites (see above), and there are also fun Pesach events at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem and Ramat Gan Safari. The fantastic new Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh will be running tours (you need to reserve ahead) or you may prefer visiting somewhere more intimate and hands on, at a farm.
Fun and free (but watch out for the blue and white lines indicating that you need to pay for parking!) there are some great parks to enjoy. Gan B’Ivrit in Rishon Lezion is often popular because of its water fountain fun (OFF between 2-4 pm). Other options are Park Raanana (which has animals, playgrounds and a lake with a boat ride among other things), Park Herzliya with a great Omega, slides park and pond, and Park Anabe in Modiin has boat rides, fun dinosaurs and playgrounds. The parks at Tel Aviv Port are also great! For more park ideas click here.
You might want to choose a science theme and visit The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, Technoda in Hadera, Madatech in Haifa, The Weizmann Institute in Rechovot, or the new Carasso Science Museum in Beer Sheva. There is also the unique hands on Solar Garden in Binyamina which you need to book for so will be less crowded. Science museums are always fun for a range of ages which makes it a perfect option during Chol Hamoed. There are plenty of museums to choose from in Israel – just decide on your interests and pay them a visit!
As you can see there are limitless ideas for what to do over Pesach. There are also some amazing discounts available for days out in Israel. If you have an Israeli credit card, many offer seasonal deal, including 1+1 ticket offers and Groupon Israel also offers deals which may ease the expense of Pesach sightseeing!
Wishing you all a Happy Pesach!