School’s out, and it’s the hottest time of year in Israel, but there are tons of fun things for kids to do this summer, from swimming with dolphins to hiking through a water tunnel to petting a kangaroo.

ISRAEL21c scoured the country’s top attractions (free and paid) for our list of great children’s activities. If your favorite summertime activity in Israel is not on our list, please add it in our comments section.

1. Beaches

The beach is no doubt the ultimate summer playground for kids of all ages, and with 273 kilometers (170 miles) of beautiful coastline in Israel, you just can’t miss. In summer, the Mediterranean has an average temperature of about 30 degrees C (86 F), so it’s like getting into a warm bath.

Some particularly child-friendly stretches include Shavei Tzion Beach near Nahariya with its natural seawater pool; Achziv Beach replete with lagoons to splash in; Dor (Tantura) Beach in the Carmel, with its natural wave breaks; Beit Yannai Beach near Caesarea, which has both awesome kite-surfing and restricted turtle nesting grounds; Palmachim Beach near Rishon LeZion with its perfect sand for castles; Tel Baruch Beach in Tel Aviv, which has tons of paid parking and family-oriented cafés; and the ever-popular Accadia Beach in Herzliya.

You’ll find families picnicking into the late hours of the night, enjoying the cooling sea breezes. Try to avoid the hottest hours, and watch out for the jellyfish that tend to come in huge swarms at the start of July.

2. Water parks

Paint the sunscreen on the kids and slide into Israel’s water parks. Shefayim is the largest, covering 24 acres with 22 slide rides and three pools – suitable for all ages. Located in Kibbutz Shefayim, about 20 minutes north of Tel Aviv.

Meymadion is a smaller version of this park, in North Tel Aviv’s Ganei Yehoshua park complex. Surf, slide and swim into dozens of attractions.

Generations have taken the breathtaking plunge down the mega slides at the Luna Gal Park on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The biggest water park in the north includes swimming pools, splash pools, extreme slide rides, water tubing and a beach.

Holon, 15 minutes south of Tel Aviv, has a water park called Yamit, where extreme slide rides meet wave pools and slides and pools for littler ones. Parents of older children can let the kids “slide” and escape to the park’s spa and Turkish-style saunas.

3. Zoo adventures

Israel’s two biggest animal parks are among the top most-visited tourist sites in the country.

Jerusalem’s Tisch Family Zoological Gardens hosts the world’s largest collection of animals mentioned in the Bible, as well as thousands of other creatures in natural habitats. There’s a train to ride around the grounds, a play area, a petting zoo and guided educational activities.

The Ramat Gan Safari combines the safari and zoo experience. Drive your car (or take a safari bus) through the open-air exhibits, then stop off at the zoo area for a closer look at your favorite furry friends. The Safari has the largest animal collection in the Middle East. Check out the elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, hippos and lions wandering freely on 250 acres.

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