Traveling with children? Just love animals? Israel is home to numerous zoos, aquariums and petting zoos spread around the country.
The most famous of Israel’s zoos is the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. The zoo focuses on preserving rare species and prominently features animals indigenous to the Land of Israel, especially those mentioned in the Bible. The zoo’s Noah’s Ark Visitors Center features a film about animal conservation. A children’s playground and petting zoo are a perfect place to take a break in the middle of your visit. When walking becomes difficult, hop on the train which rides around the zoo.
The Safari in Ramat Gan is a great way to meet animals in their natural habitats. The African park features zebras, wildebeest, hippos and rhinos etc. roaming the grounds freely. Visitors can drive through in private vehicles, on a bus, or with a train tour. The main section of the zoo is home to many species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Animal feedings take place at various times throughout the day. The safari tour ends with a drive through the lions’ habitat, and back through the African park.
Visitors to Eilat will not want to miss the Underwater Observatory. A glass-bottomed boat tour of the Red Sea lets you see the tropical fish swimming about. The aquarium features fish, sharks and sea turtles swimming in large tanks.
The Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve educates about animal conservation in the north of Israel. Wild sheep, wild goats, fallow deer, roe deer, Griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, and Bonelli`s eagle are all bred at the wildlife preserve. The goal is to release them into the wild. Guided tours are available and it is recommended that you check that the reserve is open before planning a visit.
Some zoos are dedicated to one species, such as the Monkey Park in the Ben Shemen forest near Modiin. This park is a sanctuary for primates. All visits are with a guided tour by a staff member. Gan Guru is a park dedicated to Australian animals, such as kangaroos and koalas. The kangaroos can be petted and fed. Hamat Gader, famous for its spa, also boasts one of the largest crocodile farms in the Middle East with approximately 200 crocodiles of various species.
A complete list of Israeli zoos can be found here.