M any Israelis take the opportunity to travel a little farther afield and explore the country during the Passover holiday. This year, the intermediate days will fall between Wednesday March 27 and Sunday March 31, and that is when the majority of activities take place.
Gan Hashlosha (Sahne) National Park is presenting an exhibition entitled “When a Tree Is Planted on Water,” which features photographs documenting the original pioneers who settled in Emek Hama’ayanot (Valley of Springs). The exhibition is included in the entrance fee to the park, which has natural heated pools, waterfalls and shaded grassy areas, as well as an archeology museum, children’s activities and fruit picking.Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (04) 658- 1017
At Tzuk Manara, there will be a number of adventures and activities for every age at the cliff that includes Israel’s longest cable car. The Upper Galilee site will host activities such as archaeological workshops, pottery classes and an Egyptian circus.www.cliff.co.il/
The Ramat Hanegev birdwatching center is offering a range of activities for the whole family, such as walking and biking trips on the trail of rare birds of prey and migrating birds. For those with more nocturnal tendencies, there will be tours following bats and owls.Adults: NIS 50; children: NIS 30.
For a truly authentic experience, complete with nostalgia about the good old days of youth movements and pioneers, the Trips and Legends association is organizing three breathtaking hikes in the North that make up the well-known Sea to Sea hike, which links the Mediterranean to the Kinneret. The long hikes, which will take place on three non- consecutive days, are geared for experienced hikers. Each day a bus will set off from Tel Aviv and take hikers north to the specific starting points.
The first hike will be at Nahal Kaziv on March 27. The second will cover the Mount Miron area on March 30. The third will take in the Nahal Amud area on April 1.NIS 135 per person, including transportation and guide. Bus leaves from Arlozorov central train station at 7 a.m. www.meny.co.il (03) 681- 8776
With only seven days of the holiday, it may be difficult to take advantage of all the attractions on offer in the Jezreel Valley, but it’s worth a shot. Some of the highlights include jeep tours through Kfar Baruch to see flowers, streams, history and springs; a family trip to Alon Baruch to learn about the production of milk; fishing courses for children and parents at Yokneam Hamoshava, as well as courses in making goldfish tanks and a variety of other activities related to fish.( 04) 652-0013, www.emek- tour.org.il
The Potato Festival at Hevel Habsor is a great option for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. As part of the northern Negev Agricultural Passover festival, there will be tours of potato fields, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, characters dressed as potatoes performing street theater and plenty more potato-related fun.072-251-0271, www.habsor.co.il
KKL-JNF tour guides will be on hand in various forests around the country to give tours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day. There is also an option to join short hikes starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Some of the parks include the Tzora Forest at the Tel Tzora scenic lookout, with an excursion on foot on the Shimshon Trail; US Independence Forest (Ness Harim) at Bar Bahar; Ben-Shemen Forest starting at the parking area of the Mexico recreation area (entrance is from Gimzo Junction), with an excursion on foot to the Shomrim monument and the Blue Valley Park starting at the park entrance, with an excursion on foot on a circular route on the park trails.Free. Advance registration required. Call KKL-JNF Forest Hotline at 1-800-350-550.
The Courtyard Museum at Ein Shemer is holding an homage to the original pioneers. Children will have the opportunity to dress in traditional pioneer clothing and take part in a variety of attractions in the spirit of the days when the halutzim worked the land. The activities will include working the old laundry tub, putting up tents and taking a tour by tractor around the kibbutz, as well as a tour of the cowshed. Additional attractions at the museum include an exhibition of tractors and farm equipment from the beginning of the century, guided tours for all ages, storytelling for children and crafts activities.
NIS 25. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.courtyard.co.il/english/index.htm Metukaya at Kibbutz Beit Zera will be holding fondant icing sculpting workshops, all of which will be kosher for Passover. Children will be shown how to create sweet-tasting fondant flowers and butterflies in one workshop, while another will demonstrate how to make an edible baby Moses in his basket. The workshops will take place every hour until one hour before closing (5 p.m.). There is no need to reserve in advance (except for groups).NIS 45 per person, (04) 677-5422 or 052-819-7190.
Every year at Passover, as part of its social program, Bank Hapoalim subsidizes free admission to more than 40 museums, heritage sites and national parks. The sites include some of the most prestigious museums in Israel, as well as many lesser-known museums and national parks. The program is very popular, so expect long lines and crowded spaces.
The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art are two of the bigger venues in the promotion, while Katzrin Park and the Museum of Beduin Culture are two of the lesser-known options.For a full list of participating sites: www.bankhapoalim.co.il/event/passover.html