Introducing the Ilanot Arboretum Visitors’ Center.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The new visitors’ center in Ilanot Forest, which was established with the support of Friends of KKL Denmark, was inaugurated on August 14th, 2017 at a ceremony attended by representatives from both Denmark and Israel. The center was launched a few weeks ago for a trial period, and now that it has opened its doors to the general public it has already begun to attract large numbers of visitors.
“This site is unique, not only to Israel, but to the whole world, and it shows visitors the vital contribution that forests have made to both humankind and the environment,” declared KKL-JNF’s Central Region Director Haim Messing.
The new center allows visitors to explore the world of forests with the help of advanced technology, such as a bicycle with virtual reality glasses that create an impression of cycling through woodland; a globe that shows different types of forests worldwide; a map that matches tree species to geographic location; a model tree surrounded by tablet computers that you can point at different parts of the tree to get more information on them; a film room; and an interactive trivia quiz.
President of KKL-JNF Denmark Finn Schwartz told the guests briefly about Inga and Gerhard Herzog, the donors who had made the center’s establishment possible, and described how they had made their way to Denmark from Germany in order to escape the Nazis, and worked devotedly for the benefit of KKL-JNF and the State of Israel. “There is no doubt that if they were here with us today they would be very proud of the site that has been created here,” said Finn Schwartz.
Ilanot Forest was planted in the early days of the State of Israel to test the possibility of acclimatizing different tree varieties to local conditions. As the years passed, the forest was abandoned and suffered from neglect, until KKL-JNF took it in hand and revived it so successfully that around two years ago, Israel conferred upon it official botanical-garden status . The woodland has been made accessible to people with disabilities, thanks to a donation from Friends of JNF USA. Upgrades included the provision of paths suitable for wheelchairs, and audio stations that provide recorded information for the blind and the hard of hearing – upgrades that have won KKL-JNF a prize for accessibility. The new visitors’ center is similarly accessible: the virtual-reality bike can be operated at the touch of a button (no need to pedal) and the screening room has an entrance specially designed for wheelchair-users.
Ilanot Forest is open every day, including Fridays, Saturdays, holidays and holiday eves, from 8.00 a.m. until sunset.
Visits to the visitors’ center must be coordinated ahead of time by telephoning 050-6273641.
The visitors’ center at Ilanot is suitable for everyone aged six years old and above. The botanical garden is suitable for anyone four years old and over.
More about the Ilanot Arboretum Visitors’ Center
Watch video, see photos of the Ilanot Visitors’ Center inauguration