Israel's newest amusement park brings 'Magic' to Jerusalem outskirts

Magic Kass, which opened two months ago in a town 30 minutes from Jerusalem, is like nothing else in Israel.

 The new Magic Kass indoor amusement park in Maale Adumim (photo credit: Courtesy)
The new Magic Kass indoor amusement park in Maale Adumim
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Walking through the entrance to the new Magic Kass amusement park in Ma’ale Adumim, my kids and I had the same reaction: Whoa.

We had seen the colorful promotional videos showing some of the rides at Magic Kass, one of the only indoor amusement parks in the world. But it was a bit of a shock to walk in and immediately see riders free-fall several stories on the sky tower, while others sped by upside-down on the super-loop.

Magic Kass, which opened two months ago in a town 30 minutes from Jerusalem, is like nothing else in Israel. Built with an investment of NIS 500 million, the park is owned by the Kass Group which recently opened DCity, the largest and fanciest designer mall in Israel, two kilometers down the road. The company, headed by the religiously observant and baby-faced Hanoch Kass, has made it clear that it is dedicated to designing with a new level of luxury.

My 10-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son were ecstatic when I told them that we had been invited to review the park, and they were not disappointed. The fact that we got free VIP passes, which included a show and entry to the gymboree, made it even more fun. For regular visitors, enjoying the magic will not come cheap.

Tickets are NIS 100 per person, or NIS 145 including the show. Other options are available on the Magic Kass app, which offers other park-related content as well. During the winter, the park is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., but it is worth checking the Facebook page or the app, as some days are closed for private events. In any case, you should make sure to order tickets online before arriving.

 The new Magic Kass indoor amusement park in Maale Adumim (credit: Courtesy) The new Magic Kass indoor amusement park in Maale Adumim (credit: Courtesy)

On Hanukkah, the park will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with special performances all day long. Judging by the way they do things here, the entertainment here will probably be top-notch.

To get there, we took the free bus that the company provides hourly from a station in front of Jerusalem’s Binyenei Ha’uma. In order to make it as accessible as possible to Jerusalemites, round-trip transportation is provided, although the scheduling can be a bit sporadic.

Upon arriving, kids without green passports can get a rapid coronavirus test on the spot, to make sure that entrance is as easy as possible. Everyone inside is supposed to wear a mask, but most of the people we saw were not.

Having visited large amusement parks in the US, the compact size of the complex was surprising to me. Built on 1.3 hectares of land, the three-story complex leaves little space unused, and the dozen or so big rides are very close to each other. We started off with some easy rides, like the flying saucer and bumper cars, before we got brave enough to attempt the sky tower drop. I hadn’t been on rides like these in more than 20 years, so I had to play it cool if my kids weren’t to realize I was even more scared than they were. But once I got used to the feeling of leaving my stomach behind, I enjoyed the rides as much as they did.

Kids must be at least 90 cm. tall to go on the rides, which is just as well, because most of them would be too scary for little ones. If we would have brought our four-year-old, the trip would have probably been less fun for everyone.

Our favorite ride was the Beresheet roller coaster located on the roof, overlooking the desert and nearby facilities. It was smaller than a classic roller coaster, going back and forth on a track about 100 meters long, but it was fun.

Visiting mid-week during the off-season, the park would have been nearly empty if not for an extravagant birthday party and a company fun day event. If those are excluded, there were probably an equal number of Jewish and Arab visitors at the time we were there.

Lines for rides were very short, and we could sometimes get back on the ride as soon as we had gotten off. As a kid, I remember sometimes waiting 45 minutes in line to board a ride, so this was a treat. During Hanukkah and other holidays, more patience will probably be needed. The park limits the number of tickets sold so it doesn’t get too overcrowded.

We had dinner at the food court on the third floor, choosing pizza from a number of food stand options. All the restaurants on the premises are kosher. Visitors are not allowed to bring in food or drink from outside.

Next, we went to the performance, a play called, un-ironically, “The Magic of Kass.” The theater was new and cushy, and the show was top-notch, an hour-long production that included state-of-the-art scenery and props, 10 actors, great music, magic and a storyline appropriate for kids above age 6 or so. The show adds another NIS 45 to the park’s admission price.

Originally, we had planned to leave when the show ended at 8:30 p.m., but we hadn’t had enough yet, so we decided to stay until the park closed at 10 p.m. Things got wild with my over-tired kids in the gymboree, as we ran obstacle courses and jumped on the trampoline until we were out of breath − or at least I was. (Entrance to the gymboree costs an additional NIS 35 per person.)

The complex has about 150 video games, so I loaded a bit of money onto each kid’s bracelet, which had a QR code they could scan to pay for games. This approach makes it easier for parents to control their total spending, while also giving the kids the freedom to play by themselves.

There is a massive toy store located next to the arcade, but magically, my kids didn’t feel the need to browse. My son said it was already “his funnest day ever,” and it very well may have been. We concluded our magical day with ice cream as we were among the last to leave the place when it closed.

Our bus ride back included a brief stop at DCity, the new mall with 200 stores, more than 150,000 square meters of shopping space, a luxury hotel and a piazza built as a replica of the famous Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. The mall, which cost some NIS 750m. to build, opened in August to rave reviews. It was closed when our bus stopped there for a short break, but it is worth a separate trip.

The launch of DCity and Magic Kass have reinvigorated the city of Ma’ale Adumim. The municipality recently renamed its Mishor Adumim industrial zone, where the complexes are located, Park Israel, “reflecting its new reality as a modern destination for shopping and leisure,” a city official has said.

The Kass Group has very ambitious plans here, with additional entertainment complexes planned. Whether or not DCity and Magic Kass can achieve their lofty sales targets, they have already left their marks on the area.  

The writer was a guest of Magic Kass.