A lot more than meets the eye

Eilat offers a host of wondrous experiences on land, in the sky, and underwater.

Famous for its sun, sea, and sand, Eilat in fact has a lot more to offer its visitors. One thing the kids won't want to miss is the new interactive biblical theme park, Kings City, which opened only a couple of months ago. Spread out over 12,000 square meters, it is built on three levels and designed to handle 1,800 visitors a day. Apart from providing the children with an unforgettable fun experience, it also takes them on a voyage through time. One section is a trip back to ancient Egypt. Another is the Cave of Wisdom and Illusions, with mazes and labyrinths. A third section is reached after traveling down an elevator into the Biblical Cave, with scenes from well-known biblical stories. The grand finale is sailing through King Solomon's waterfalls and down a huge exciting water slide into the artificial lake. And speaking of water, what goes on under the water has always been a fascination for visitors to Eilat. One of the main attractions is the Coral Reef with its amazing multicolored coral. A wooden bridge takes you the 20 meters from the shore to the reef, and you can dive off from the wall or go down the steps into this scenic world of natural coral formations that resemble vegetables, trees, and bushes. There are underwater snorkeling and diving classes for anyone from the age of 10, enabling you to encounter some of the most beautiful colored fish in the world. There are also classes for younger children in a specially constructed children's pool. For those who prefer to stay dry while observing the coral world, the glass-bottom boat and the underwater observatory also give a close-up view of the wondrous underwater world. From the depths of the ocean, you may want to turn your sights skyward and have a go at paragliding. If you don't feel up to taking to the skies, you can go to the Airodium and try the sky-diving simulator with the world's largest wind tunnel. No experience is needed, as a mini-lesson is given onsite. For landlubbers, the Yotvata Wildlife Nature Reserve is the place to see animals that are mentioned in the Bible but have almost disappeared from the area, as well as endangered desert species. Some of the animals roam in a 12-km fenced-in area with similar conditions to those of the wild, including an abundance of acacia trees that provide the food for the addax, white oryx, ostrich, African wild ass, and other indigenous species. Other animals, such as wolves, leopards, wildcats, hyenas, and foxes live in cages in the Predators Center, together with birds of prey and desert reptiles. There is also a Desert Night life exhibition that simulates nighttime during our daytime so you can get a glimpse of the nocturnal rodents that usually disappear into their burrows during the day. Timna Park, a few kilometers north of Eilat, has become even more tourist-friendly over the last few years. As you enter the park, the chronosphere offers a 360-degree multimedia experience entitled "The Mines of Time," an introduction to the ancient Egyptian and Midianite cultures and copper mining industry, which goes back over thousands of years. Farther on are the enormous red rock formations known as the Pillars of Solomon, as well as the mushroom-shaped rock. Children will enjoy a pedal-boat ride on the recently constructed artificial lake. And, of course, there is the chance to have a camel ride. The kids will also enjoy a copper coin-making machine and a chance to make their own bottle of colored sand. To travel and explore further in this vast park, you can hike, drive your car, or take a jeep tour.