How to sweeten the new year: A plethora of family-friendly activities

The Tel Aviv Farm is inviting the public to an agricultural Rosh Hashana celebration.

Hitch a ride with a camel caravan at Kfar Hanokdim. (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Hitch a ride with a camel caravan at Kfar Hanokdim.
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
As Rosh Hashana approaches, there are a number of family-friendly activities you can participate in around the country. Here’s a list of my suggestions that will help you begin the new year with a sweet touch.

Kfar Hanokdim

Kfar Hanokdim is opening the New Year with a variety of activities for the whole family, such as drumming, shofar blowing, walking tours in search of the sea squill flowers, extreme bicycle tours, and camel rides through the desert. Guests at Kfar Hanokdim are invited to participate in a festive ceremony to welcome the New Year, which will be followed by a festive dinner.
Afterward, there will be communal singing around the bonfire, which will be accompanied by drums and shofars. On the first morning of Rosh Hashana, there will be a guided tour in search of the squill flower in the Judean Desert. During the hike, participants will hear all about how the flowers blossom in the desert. Participants will follow the guide in their own cars, and then walk together along a dirt path. There will also be other activities, such as bicycles for rent, which can then be ridden along the single Hanokdim path which passes through Bik’at Hakana’im and Givat Gorny. Alternatively, you can join an open-air yoga class or go on a camel ride.
Details: (08) 995-0097.
Old Courtyard
On Shabbat, 23 September, between 10:00 and 15:00, the Old Courtyard Museum at Kibbutz Ein Shemer will be holding special Rosh Hashana activities, including preparing special New Year cards, honey workshops, experiential tours of the kibbutz museum in which you’ll learn what it was like living on a kibbutz in the olden days – dressing up in clothes worn by pioneers, baking bread in an old brick oven, and rides in a cart pulled by a tractor. Length of activities: 3 hours.
Price: NIS 35-45.
Nahal Prat
In celebration of the New Year, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority is inviting the public to enjoy the wonders of nature and take a dip in the cool, natural water of Nahal Prat. On Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23, there will be guided tours during which participants will learn about the nature reserve’s flora and fauna, as well as see remains that have been excavated from ancient dwellings. Nahal Prat is fed from natural springs and has been a source of attraction for hikers and visitors throughout history as a result. According to Jewish lore, the Prophet Jeremiah stopped to rest here, and a Christian legend says that Hariton, a reclusive monk, also lived in the area.
Location: Nahal Prat (a.k.a. Ein Prat) Nature Reserve Date: September 22-23 at 10:30 a.m.,, 12:30 p.m.
and 2:30 p.m.
All activities included in entrance fee. Free for Israel Nature and Parks Authority members.
Hagoshrim Kayaks
A wonderful way to celebrate the New Year is by bathing in the cool water of the Hatzbani River, just before the weather turns cool. Hagoshrim Kayaks, which is located on the banks of the Hatzbani River, is inviting the public to make their Rosh Hashana a little bit sweeter this year by celebrating the holiday on the water. There will be kayaking, paint ball, lots of places to hold a barbecue, and sleep outside in nature. Guests can paddle their kayaks down two different streams. The first is a 5-km. family-friendly stream in calm waters that starts at Kibbutz Hagoshrim. Another option is a 6-km. stream that starts at the Ma’ayan Baruch parking area that passes through fast-flowing water with a few small waterfalls to confront. Hagoshrim Kayaks offers bathrooms, showers with hot water, picnic tables, ample parking, electrical outlets, and lighting. There are also spacious pop-up tents and mattresses available. The camping site is open 24 hours a day.
Prices: NIS 69 for family-friendly path. Camping: NIS 75 per person.
Paint ball: NIS 115 per person.
Details: 077-271-7500.
Gan Guru Kangaroo Park
Gan Guru, which is located in Emek Hama’ayanot, will be launching its new attraction just in time for Rosh Hashana: The Gan Go Shoot Dinosaur Maze. On Friday, September 22, guests will be invited to enter the new maze, which makes its way through vegetation, from which dinosaurs will appear and make realistic sounds. Some of the dinosaurs even speak and give amusing hints about themselves. There are also other dinosaur-related attractions outside of the maze scattered around the garden.
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; holiday eve, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: Combination ticket Gan Guru + Gan Go Shoot: NIS 59.
Details: (04) 648-8060.
Ozrot Hagalil
Ozrot Hagalil invites the public to take a break from the hectic life and come to Kibbutz Kfar Masaryk on Saturday, September 23, for an adventure called Halutziada, where you’ll learn all about the pioneers who settled Israel and the holidays that fall in the month of Tishrei. Guests can dress up like pioneers, dance the hora together, sing along to traditional Israeli pop music, paint on porcelain plates, and make colorful paper-cuts for Rosh Hashana. In addition, children can engage in games from past eras, such as potato-sack races, pass the water, and darts. Guests are also welcome to take a tour of the kibbutz’s visitor center, and all the facilities of the kibbutz as they appeared back in the 1940s, such as talking with a shoemaker in the shoemaker’s shack, or those responsible for the old laundry house, and the children’s sleeping quarters.
Dates: Saturday, September 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: NIS 35 per person (from age three).
Details: 077-996-4652.
Ein Yael
The public is invited to Ein Yael for the 9th Jerusalem Knights’ Festival, which will take place on Thursday September 21, and Friday September 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Activities for children will include mock sword fighting, which will culminate in a fierce (not really) sword fight; a workshop about princesses from the Middle Ages, during which they can dress up in costumes and put on makeup; a workshop in which kids can construct a personal shield; pita baking on a taboun (a clay oven); and a circus show with clowns and knights.
Price: NIS 80 (from age three).
Location: Ein Yael Museum, Nahal Refaim, Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv Farm
The Tel Aviv Farm is inviting the public to an agricultural Rosh Hashana celebration. On Saturday, September 23, guests can join a magical tour of the symbols of the New Year. Guests will be introduced to a number of characters, including an evil sorcerer who decided to steal the holiday symbols, such as a pomegranate tree, which kids will find in a game of bingo; a shofar, which they’ll find at the petting zoo, and learn how they are made; and of course honey – kids will meet Ofer the beekeeper who will show them a transparent beehive.
The tour ends with pitot filled with chocolate and honey.
Date: Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Price: Children, NIS 39; adults, NIS 10.
Details: 053-710-6944.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.