The summer camps are over – but don’t despair. There are plenty of fun places to visit with something for all ages. So pack a picnic lunch and get going.
By ANN GOLDBERG
The kaytanot and summer camps are over, and now it’s up to you to entertain the kids – or at least try and keep them out of trouble.A good way to plan a day out is to pick a place that has something for all ages, take a picnic lunch and off you go.Kids need to let off steam, and where better than in a luna park? Superland in Rishon Lezion is always a favorite. If your fright-level is high, then don’t watch while your older kids drop out of the sky on the sky coaster, hang upside down on the mountain ride, or get soaked on the waterfalls of fear – just take the younger ones on the “fun” rides like the Big Wheel, the Rocking Tug, or the bumper cars, and meet the teenagers for lunch.Holon’s Peres Park is another place that is home to a selection of activities for children and teenagers, as well as being a great park for picnics and ball games. As an added extra, it also has a boating lake.Younger children will love the Children’s Museum, where they can become a character in an adventure story as they wander through the activities in the museum. Older children (over nine) can experience something completely new and probably scary, but in a totally different way to the luna park. At Dialogue in the Darkness they will enter the world of the sightless.They won’t have to close their eyes – the journey through darkness takes place in rooms totally devoid of light (watches and cellphones are removed before you enter) and will experience a small taste of life without vision.With only a stick to move around in front of you, a blind guide takes you through a forest, a ride on a boat, a trip to the market and several everyday experiences and places. You learn to identify items and places using all your senses, except sight.Another similar, but less stressful experience is Invitation to Silence where you experience life without sound and learn to use facial expressions and body language to make yourself understood.Both these very popular activities need to be booked well in advance.www.childrensmuseum.org.il Bnei Brak may not be a famous tourist resort, but your older kids will have a great time at the Coca Cola plant. Situated right at the entrance to the city and plainly visible from the main highway, this is a fun and unusual experience.Apart from “meeting” (virtually) the company’s founder, you will also enjoy some activities based on the company’s new motto; “an active lifestyle.”There’s a room of exercise bicycles, a music room where you can express your musical talents, and a lie-back-and-experience-the-circle-of-senses room.Each group gets photographed and presented with a photo at the end. You also get a chance to feel... how a bubble in a bottle of coke feels.For those over 8 only. To book a visit. Call 03- 6712226 Perhaps more for younger children, the Parrot Farm at Kfar Hess (near Tel Mond) will teach them all about these multicolored, chatty birds. You’ll be surprised that the parrots aren’t afraid of you and will happily come and sit on your children’s hands and let the kids feed and play with them. There’s also a small zoo and a play area. A film explains all about the hundreds of parrots you’ll see.TRAVELING FURTHER away from the center of the country, to the Jordan Valley, you’ll be able to play with and feed kangaroos at Gan Guroo. Situated near Kibbutz Nir David, this expansive Australian Park is, according to the guide, the only place outside Australia where kangaroos roam free and where koala bears live.These cuddly-looking bears hang around their eucalyptus trees (their only source of food and drink), sleeping for around 18 hours a day. This entire park was set up in conjunction with the Australian government, and only after the founders had planted thousands of eucalyptus trees were they allowed to bring over just a few of those furry koalas.You can also see other animals and birds indigenous to Australia such as wallabies, emus, kookaburras and a cassowary – also known as the most dangerous bird in the world and second in size only to the ostrich.Both you and the kids will enjoy getting lost in the mazes (both simple and more complicated) and there’s plenty of play area and climbing activities.You are also just next door to Gan Hashlosha (also known as Sachne), where you can enjoy a swim after your time in the park.Traveling further north, Lake Kinneret is always a great place to take children of all ages.Start off at Ein Gev and visit Saba Yossi’s carpentry studio, where the kids can learn to put together ready-made wooden toy kits, using real power tools, under the supervision of Saba Yossi himself. If your children are too young, or if you don’t have the time for them to make their own, there are plenty of ready-made toys you can buy and a delightful wooden play area.Then you can tour the kibbutz on the little kibbutz train and hear all about kibbutz life. You can either eat your own picnic lunch on the new attractive boardwalk, or try out the fresh fish restaurant on the shores of the lake.On Thursday evenings in August, there are nighttime boat rides starting and ending at Ein Gev.For details and bookings, call (04) 665 8008.The Air Force Museum in Hatzerimnear Beersheba is not just a large collection of aircraft spread out on the tarmac but a living collection of stories of our fledgling air force. Each plane has a special story to tell of daring, risk or adventure, and a special place in our history. Call in advance and take a guided tour in whichever language you or your children are most fluent.Hear the story of the first Messerschmitts, bought in great haste in Czechoslovakia to stem the seemingly unstoppable Egyptian army as it marched toward Tel Aviv during the War of Independence.These planes, well past their sell-by date, were dismantled and brought over here in another plane and put together on arrival. They were meant more as a deterrent than a fighting aircraft. Fortunately, like so many of our “bluffs” – this one also worked.Other airplanes are used for audio-visual presentations and mini-museums, and the exhibition takes you right up to modern air warfare.Tel: (08) 990 6853.
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