Planning your Purim fun

CAPTAIN HOOK comes by every hour to entertain the children at Hamat Gader. (photo credit: NIR WEILD)
CAPTAIN HOOK comes by every hour to entertain the children at Hamat Gader.
(photo credit: NIR WEILD)
You have probably already begun to plan your Purim costume and what you’ll put in this year’s mishloah manot. Another angle to this holiday that is worth planning in advance is which outings you’ll go on.
National parks and cultural centers around the country are preparing Purim festivals and family-fun activities. And since Purim is in the spring, we can’t help but notice all the pink and purple flowers covering the trees on the side of the road. The following is a short list of some of the best Purim activities being offered this year.
Walk around Mount Tabor Moran
Gal-On and Walk Inn Israel are organizing an enjoyable day of walking for the whole family. The Walk around Mount Tabor can help you recharge your batteries as you look out over the most incredible views of the Jezreel Valley and the Galilee. And the view you’ll have once you reach the top is absolutely breathtaking. During the walk, participants get to hear story after story about the region. If you’re interested in something a little more adventurous, you can take off on a path where you are in charge of navigating by yourself.
When: Saturday, March 26 at 10 a.m.
Where: Mount Tabor Monastery parking lot.
Price: NIS 40 per family. Preregistration required: 054-675-2448, 052-248-3380.
Marzipan clowns
And if we’re already talking about Mount Tabor, then you should know that the Shaked Tabor Visitors Center is holding a colorful Purim celebration open to the public that is all about marzipan. There is a short video about how marzipan is made, an exhibition of famous animated characters made completely out of marzipan and a story-telling corner. In the art workshops, guests learn how to form clowns and hamentashen out of marzipan, while younger children can jump and play in the gymboree room.
Price: Parents and children two and under are free. For ages three to 15, NIS 64 (including cost of materials).
Where: KKL Boulevard, Kfar Tavor For more information: (04) 677-2111.
Animals in disguise
The Biblical Museum of Natural History, located in Beit Shemesh, plans to be all decked out for Purim. The museum, which is a mixture of a zoo and a Jewish learning center, has on display mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects that are mentioned in the Torah and the Talmud. During the holiday, there are guided experiential tours, during which visitors are able to touch live animals and every child who comes dressed in a costume receives a prize.
Where: 5 Hatzaba Street, Beit Shemesh.
When: Friday, March 25. Hebrew tour at 10 and English tour at 11:30.
Price: NIS 30 to NIS 40. Preregistration necessary: (073) 213-1662.
Adloyada Purim parade
Srigim Brewery is holding a fun Purim celebration with quality beer, good music and breathtaking scenery. Of course, there’s plenty of food, too: hot dogs, pretzels, homemade hummus and smoked meat sandwiches.
Guests wearing costumes receive an automatic 10 percent discount.
When: Friday, March 25, between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Address: Srigim Commercial Center.
For more information, contact Lior: 054- 559-9484.
Ariel Sharon Park
During the Purim holiday, the Ariel Sharon Park is holding a fun-packed family festival.
Kids learn how the waste dump area was turned into a green park, how to save the environment and how to transform trash into gas. In addition, after the organized activities are finished, you can take a stroll around the park, which is covered with blossoming and fragrant flowers.
The tours are appropriate for the whole family and are led by licensed tour guides. If you’re interested, you can watch a multimedia presentation about the Ariel Sharon Park.
When: March 23-25. There are three tours each day at 9:30, 11:30 and 1:30.
Where: Ariel Sharon Park.
All activities are free of charge and there is no need for preregistration.
Negev Museum of Art
The Negev Museum of Art and the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Culture in Beersheba are holding special activities during the Purim holiday. On Thursday, March 24, for example, tours are led by guides wearing costumes and afterward there is a live showing of the Pied Piper, which involves the participation of children from the audience.
When: Thursday, March 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the hour.
Each show lasts 50 minutes.
Price: NIS 20, which includes entrance to both museums and the show.
Hamat Gader
Hamat Gader is planning a festive carnival for the whole family in which Captain Hook, Crocodile Dundee and the circus director inspire kids and impress parents. In the show, Crocodile Dundee arrives at Hamat Gader for the first time and discovers a new world of alligators. As an expert on alligators, he makes alligator groggers, and he explains about the different types of alligators. The circus director invites all the visitors to take part in the costume contest (prizes for best ones are given at the end). Kids can have their faces painted like animals and every hour on the hour Captain Hook comes out and takes the kids on an entertaining journey throughout Hamat Gader.
When: Thursday, March 24, and Friday, March 25, from 10 to 4.
Price: Children up to 1 meter tall enter for free. NIS 105 per person. Special family rate for up to four people is NIS 279.
The Weizmann Institute
The Clore Garden of Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science is holding an exhibition called “Bells and Whistles.” There are arts and crafts workshops during which visitors can build scientific structures that make sounds in interesting ways. During Purim, activities are expanded, and there is a costume contest – with prizes – for children and adults too. In addition, guided tours are available in the garden throughout the day.
When: March 24 to 26.
Price: NIS 35 to NIS 40.
Mini Israel
During the holiday, at Mini Israel guests are able to interact with Purim characters such as King Ahasuerus, Queen Vashti, Esther, Haman and Mordecai. There are games, arts and crafts workshops and a musical. In one of the games, kids have to find out what Queen Esther was so sad about on such a happy holiday.
A hint: It’s because she lost a ring that was very special to her. Kids are welcome to help her search for the missing ring.
When: March 24 to 26, from 10 to 4.
Price: NIS 35 to NIS 69.
For more information: 1-700-507-507.
Field of spices
Tour guides are leading free tours of the blossoming organic spice fields at Havat Hatavlinim.
Participants hear about the history of the farm and learn about the medicinal qualities of each type of herbs as they walk through the fields. In case of rain, guests can hear these explanations inside the visitors’ center. Throughout the day, guests are treated to tastings of locally-made halva, cheese and hot infusions.
When: Saturday, March 26 at noon.
Where: Beit Lehem Haglilit.
For more information: (04) 953-3405. 
Translated by Hannah Hochner.