Sukkot activities across Israel

Below are some excellent venues where you can celebrate Sukkot in Israel.

 Elyakim Forest (photo credit: Hashomer Hachadash)
Elyakim Forest
(photo credit: Hashomer Hachadash)

Attractions and nature parks all around the country will be offering a multitude of exciting activities for the whole family this Sukkot. Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, this is a wonderful time to get out into nature and enjoy the festivities celebrating Israel’s harvest festival. Below are some excellent venues where you can celebrate Sukkot.

1. Elyakim Forest

Hashomer Hachadash will be holding their annual Olive Harvest Festival inside the olive groves of Elyakim Forest during Hol Hamoed Sukkot. Visitors can join a guided tour of the olive groves and learn about the varieties of olives, how they’re grown and even get to pick some olives straight off the trees. Of course, there will also be an olive tasting at the end, along with activities for the kids, such as baking pita on a tabun oven, arts and crafts workshops, live performances and a flower-cutting workshop. 

This year’s festival will take place in Elyakim Forest. Visitors should park in the parking area, then walk 600 meters on the path through the forest to the area where the festival is being held. Along the way, guests can stop at activity stations. There will be a farmer’s market at the festival, where guests can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. The circular path is 1.5 km. long. 

Dates: Tuesday, October 11 through Thursday, October 13, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Price: NIS 15 from age fivePre-registration required: did.li/4k6YH 

 Naharayim at Gesher (credit: Naharayim at Gesher) Naharayim at Gesher (credit: Naharayim at Gesher)
2. Naharayim at Gesher 

Visitors to Naharayim at Gesher can join a game of Capture the Weapon’s Secret Hiding Place, in which you solve riddles and then watch a film about the Jewish pioneers who came to Israel in pre-state days to settle the land and fought to protect their homes.

There will also be an audio-visual performance with colorful lights and music that tells the story of how the pioneers built dams and stored water. Visitors can view a model of the hydroelectric power station built by engineer Pinhas Rutenberg, which collected water flowing through the Jordan River. 

There will also be guided tours that will take participants just past the security border to lookout points with fantastic views, as well as lantern tours at night. 

Dates: Lantern tours (for a fee) will take place on Tuesday, October 11 and Thursday, October 13. There will be free entrance on the weekend for the Shabbat Yisraelit program. Both require pre-registration. On Saturday, October 15, there will be a Shabbat Happening, which includes tours, a farmer’s market, food stands and children’s activities. Entrance is free.Details: www.naharayim.co.il

3. Capture the Flag in the Jezreel Valley

On Friday, October 14, there will be an interactive family activity that will lead you around various heritage sites in the Jezreel Valley. The activity will be in the form of a Capture the Flag game and will include challenging tasks and fascinating riddles that are fun for the whole family (appropriate for age six and up). 

Starting point: Kfar Yehoshua Valley Train StationDate: Friday, October 14 Price: Entrance is free as part of the Shabbat Yisraelit program. Pre-registration required: tickchak.co.il/32902

4. Hod Hasharon Corn Maze

Just in time for Sukkot, the corn maze on the outskirts of Hod Hasharon is holding a grand opening. Inside the winding and tricky maze, which is spread out over an acre of corn field, families will need to carry out a mission, which includes answering questions about how corn is grown.

Visitors can take part in picking the sweet corn, which can be eaten raw, as well as collecting cherry tomatoes. Fun activities are geared toward children ages two to 10. There are two different mazes visitors can choose from. The longer, more challenging maze takes around 90 minutes to complete, while the shorter maze is geared toward younger kids. 

Dates: Shabbat and Hol HamoedPrice: NIS 50 (ages two-12); NIS 35 (age 13 and up). The entrance fee includes three ears of corn to pick, plus a basket of cherry tomatoes to take home.Details: www.cornmaze.co.il 054-624-4545

5. Hemdat Sadot

Celebrate the Sukkot Harvest Festival at Hemdat Sadot and join an excursion that will take you through a tree grove where you will learn all about medicinal plants and hear stories about how plants were used in ancient times for healing. 

There will also be a petting zoo, and activities during which guests will learn about the Seven Species of the Land of Israel, as well as the Four Species of Sukkot. At the end, guests will enjoy making herbal tea and baking pita bread on a tabun oven. 

Location: Hemdat Sadot Pri GanDates: Every day of Sukkot and Hol Hamoed, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Guided tours will take place at 10 a.m. and 12, 2 and 4 p.m. Price: NIS 30 (geared toward age five and up)Details: 077-729-5878

6. Milky Way at Kibbutz Tzora

Tour guide Maoz Haviv will lead an excursion in the kibbutz during which participants will learn about the lives of the cows and calves in the cowshed and how the milking process works. Moreover, guests will get to meet Israel’s “queen” cow. 

Dates: Tuesday, October 11 through Friday, October 14; also Sunday, October 16. Tours will take place between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Price: NIS 50 (from age 2)Details: 054-779-1126

 Timna Park (credit: Alon Zehngut) Timna Park (credit: Alon Zehngut)
7. Timna Park

Park visitors can walk around on foot, drive in their car or ride on bicycles. During Sukkot, there will be guided tours, including special guided sunrise and sunset tours. The Timna sunrise tour begins just as the sun comes up, and the sunset tour will lead you through areas of the park that can only be accessed on guided tours. 

Participants will need to climb up ladders and walk down stone steps. Both tours end at the pond, where participants can cool down in the new fountain and fill glass bottles with colored sand in fun patterns. 

Dates: Open every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sunrise tour will take place on October 12 and 14, at 6 a.m. The tour is 2.5 hours, and is geared toward kids from age three.The sunset tour will take place on October 10-16, at 4:30 p.m. (on Shabbat at 4 p.m.). The tour is three hours, and geared toward kids from age five.Price: NIS 59 adults, and NIS 49 kids

8. Pitchat Nitzana 

This Hol Hamoed, the sixth annual Open Farmsteads Festival will take place in Pithat Nitsana, located in Ramat Hanegev. During the festival, visitors can join guided tours of local farms, follow a shepherd as he herds his flock, pick olives, go sliding on sand dunes, look for scorpions, join a sky-gazing group, enter an escape room, and taste wine and other fine products made locally in Pithat Nitsana. 

Price: NIS 15Dates: October 11-13Details: www.negevtour.co.il/?events=open-farm

Translated by Hannah Hochner.