Excursions in the cool of the night

Where to go for fun in nature in the hot midsummer after dark.

Under the stars in Mitzpe Ramon (photo credit: MARIK SHNITMAN)
Under the stars in Mitzpe Ramon
(photo credit: MARIK SHNITMAN)
In the summer months, when it’s too hot to go for a hike, the only thing we can do is entertain ourselves and wait for the sun to go down. July and August, when the kids are off school, can be very exhausting. But we can’t just sit inside our air-conditioned homes all day. Luckily, there are endless interesting activities we can engage in to occupy ourselves and through which the kids can get rid of all their pent-up energy, without spending hours in the sun.
Night at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Jerusalem has always been a great place to seek refuge in the hot summer months, especially in the evenings, when the air cools off and it’s so pleasant to spend time outdoors. The celebration is doubly festive at the city’s Biblical Zoo, where both human visitors and resident animals enjoy the cool evening breezes.
After a full day of activities, the zoo quiets down and the staff prepares for the special sunset tours, during which visitors can catch a glimpse of nocturnal animal activity. One tour even invites you to bring along a sleeping bag and stay the night near the lions and rhinos. You’ll even get to wake up to the chirping of the birds.
In addition, every Wednesday from 5 to 6:15 p.m. a juggling show takes place, and every Tuesday in July there is a concert called “When Mozart meets Beyoncé,” a juxtaposition of popular and classical music. Participants in the sunset tour (for age six and above) will see giraffes, predators and elephants.
Cost of sunset tour: NIS 58.
Check website for dates and hours. Pre-registration required: (02) 675-0116.
The desert by moonlight
When temperatures and boredom levels begin to rise, you’ll know it’s time to get out into the nighttime desert and discover all the secrets of distant galaxies. In August, our planet will collide with the orbit of the Swift-Tuttle comet, and every year its asteroids enter the earth’s atmosphere and burn up in a festival of falling stars. To make this celebration exciting and beautiful, during the four weekends of August, the Perfume Route Quarter will turn off all its lights on Thursday and Friday nights, and the desert will light up with nighttime activity.
The family-fun activities include an astronomy complex with telescopes, moon and star observation points, storytelling, movies about stars, sunset tours, oil-lamp tours, scorpion safaris, and more. There will also be lots of fun daytime activities, such as the Alpaca farm, Desert Archery Park, Hai Ramon Visitors’ Center, weaving at Ethnocenter, Center for Desert Agriculture and seasonal vegetable tasting, and the Rota Wine Farm and Winery.
Details: Har Hanegev Tourism on Facebook, or 054-733-1421.
Timna Park
If you’re already in the South, you won’t want to miss a very special evening on August 9, which will include star gazing, Night Glow (a demonstration involving hot-air balloons), a family samba party, watching a movie on a huge screen, and a guided sunrise tour of the park. All of these activities are part of a huge astronomy event that is being held for the eighth year and attracts astronomy enthusiasts from all over the country. Everyone is invited to sleep overnight in the park’s camping site free of charge. Just make sure you bring all the necessary camping equipment.
All inclusive price: NIS 79 (from age 3)
Timna Park: (08) 631-6756
Jaffa at night
The Old Jaffa Development Company is inviting curious people seeking adventure to come to Jaffa during July and August and participate in tours around the city, during which you’ll learn about its rich history, religious significance and archeological remains. The subject of the tour changes every week, and tours leave early in the morning. If you prefer to do the tour on your own, you can download the Hebrew app (Adventure in Jaffa by Giraffe Interactive) on your smartphone. The app offers tons of interesting facts about the city, and even has a family- fun navigation game with tasks that will take you through its winding streets.
Price of app: NIS 39
Time: Two hours, any time of day
Price of tour: NIS 20 (NIS 10 by credit card)
Registration: https://www.oldjaffa.co.il/familytour
Nights on the walls
During the summer months, the southern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City will remain open until 10 p.m. from Jaffa Gate all the way to the Kotel. This is an extraordinary nighttime opportunity to hear about how Jerusalem’s walls were built. From atop the wall, participants will have an incredible view of both the old and new cities. In addition, a special audiovisual show that was prepared especially for Jerusalem’s jubilee year will be screened (free of charge) every evening except Friday on the northern wall until July 17.
Dates: July and August, Sunday–Thursday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prices: adults: NIS 18, children: NIS 8.
Tickets are good for two days of visits on the southern and northern wall promenades.
Tel Michal
The “Loving Nature inside the City Tour” near Herzliya invites the public to sign up for this special initiative, in which kids can explore their surroundings and become acquainted with Tel Michal. During the 90-minute tour of the beach and archeological site guests will hear a short explanation about the impact humans have on our surroundings, and be asked to identify a number of colorful marine creatures.
Tel Michal is an archeological site located at 30 meters above sea level on the Kurkar coastal ridge across from the Herzliya marina with five hills, four of which are adjacent. Remains from the Persian and Hellenistic periods were discovered there during archeological excavations.
Free tour for kids five years and older on Mondays during month of July from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Tours start at arena, 2 Hashunit Street, Herzliya, first floor.
Details: (09)958-9199
Carasso Science Park
The Carasso Science Park in Beersheba, Israel’s largest, is planning to cool the summer off with scientific activities. Every day of the week (including Saturday) there will be activities combining science, crafts and ice cream. Participants will learn what the connection is between liquid nitrogen and ice cream, and participate in an ice cream making workshop. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to taste different ice cream flavors.
Workshop price: NIS 10.
Every day the park will hold a science competition. Everyone who solves the riddle will win free entrance to the ice cream workshop. On August 3, from 5 to 8 p.m., there will be a Sammy the Fireman Happening, in which the children will become firemen for a day, climbing on a real firetruck and doing experiments with fire. On August 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. there will be an Aviation Happening with workshops, model airplanes and spacecraft.
Price: Children up to age five: NIS 54; adults: NIS 60. During July and August, entrance fee will be NIS 30 for everyone after 2 p.m.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.