Fun Rosh Hashanah activities

Don’t despair, parents, there are plenty of fun outings in nature for the whole family that will be taking place over the holiday.

Rosh Hanikra (photo credit: EREZ ASHKENAZI)
Rosh Hanikra
(photo credit: EREZ ASHKENAZI)
At the beginning of next week we will welcome the Jewish New Year. The High Holy Days are coming early this year, just days after summer vacation ended, which means that for parents who just spent the last few weeks running around from one attraction to another with their kids, they will have had only one week back into their routines before being thrust into Rosh Hashanah. But don’t despair, parents, there are plenty of fun outings in nature for the whole family that will be taking place over the holiday.
Rosh Hanikra
Start the New Year overlooking the sea at Rosh Hanikra. During the holiday, the grottoes will be open and there will be lots of festive activities, including an arts and crafts station. Early risers can join guided tours at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. All activities are included in the entrance fee to Rosh Hanikra, which includes the regular attractions: the cable car ride, the audio-visual display and a visit to the grottoes.
Location: Rosh Hanikra Dates: September 9, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; September 10 and 11, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Details: 073-271-0100
Israel Circus Festival
The second annual Israel Circus Festival will take place next week at Gan Hashlosha (Sakhne). There will be three days jam-packed with performances, workshops and experiential learning with some of Israel’s best circus artists, including acrobats and fire jugglers. Guests can join one of two tracks: one for families and the other for circus-loving adults only.
Dates: September 13-15 Price: NIS 100 to NIS 350 Details:
Crocoloco Crocodile Farm
Spread out over eight hectares in the Arava near Ir Ovot lies the Crocoloco Crocodile Farm, which is home to over 2,000 crocodiles. The farm was established by Ofer Kobi for commercial and tourist purposes. There will guided tours of the crocodile pools, where guests will see animals that are a few meters long. This is a great time of year to visit Crocoloco, since you have a chance to watch a baby crocodile hatch from an egg in real time inside incubators.
If you’re really brave, you can even caress the reptiles and take a selfie with one.
Location: Ir Ovot, Arava Dates: Daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Price: NIS 30 Details: 1-800-225-007
Ein Gedi Field School
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is opening the New Year with a celebration under the brilliant desert sky. Families with kids can join a two-day trip that begins with a circular hike in Nahal Kina and includes a dip in cool water. The day will continue with a visit to the Bedouin village of Durijat, where local residents will greet their guests with hot tea and an explanation about their local culture. After a little relaxation and a scrumptious dinner, guests will participate in a desert survival workshop.
The morning will begin with a healthy breakfast and a short circular hike in Nahal Og, where participants will get to see eight waterfalls. It should be noted that the hike includes an ascent along a wall using metal pegs.
The hike is run by the Ein Gedi Field School and includes the overnight and half-board meals.
Dates: September 9 and 10 Price: NIS 320 to NIS 545 Details: (03) 638-8688
House of Honey and Bees
We can’t begin the year without first discussing one of the most important ingredients of the Rosh Hashanah holiday: honey. The public is invited to celebrate the New Year at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, where the bees work hard all year long to produce honey. From September 8 to 11, there will be baking workshops in which children will learn how to make honey cakes they can take home. They will also receive aprons and the honey-cake recipe.
At the kibbutz’s House of Honey and Bees, visitors are offered a glimpse into the fascinating world of bees. A young experienced beekeeper will explain the relationship between the queen and the diligent worker bees, the pollination process and the honey production process.
A hive will be opened, and then guests will be invited to taste the honey and make candles from beeswax, too. Afterward, guests can wander through a new exhibition of the reconstruction of the ancient beehive that was discovered in the Beit She’an Valley that dates back to 900 BCE. There’s evidence of bees being raised in Israel 3,000 years ago.
Dates: September 8-11, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities begin on the hour.
Price: NIS 50-55. Baking workshop: NIS 15 Details: (08) 672-0559
Dvorat Hatavor
The Visitor Center at Dvorat Hatavor will hold a bee festival over the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Visitors will learn how bees plan for the future, make decisions and work together.
Visitors can then write down a request and stick the piece of paper in a time capsule that will be stored by the bees for one year in the hives. On the day a family’s capsule is opened next year, they are welcome to visit Dvorat Hatavor free of charge.
Next, the tour continues with a visit to the honey collection station, where the beekeeper will open up the hives.
Guests are welcome to participate in workshops, such as wax candle making, painting on molds, and creating room signs.
Dates: September 6-29. Two-hour tours begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Location: Moshav Shadmot Devora Price: NIS 42-52 Details and preregistration: (04) 676-9598 Ziv Hayetzira At Ziv Hayetzira in Moshav Ein Yahav in the Arava, there will be workshops in which guests will create art projects using ecological raw materials. In one of the workshops, which are all run by artist Ziva Amit, guests will make Rosh Hashanah cards in the shape of a cactus and the letters will be made out of little stones.
Location: Ein Yahav Price: NIS 65 Details: 052-866-6223
Virtual reality in Old Jaffa
A new virtual reality experience awaits you in the heart of Jaffa. In a building that has opened only recently, there is a new tourist attraction that takes you on a virtual train ride throughout Old Jaffa. The experience, which is appropriate for the whole family, takes you on a journey back 3,500 years; all you have to do is don a pair of VR glasses. The seats move 360° and the “trip” lasts 13 minutes.
Location: 9 Beit Ha’eshel Street, Jaffa, Floor -1 (parking nearby) Price: NIS 20 per person, NIS 60 per family Details and reservations: *3471
Einot Tzukim
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority invites the public to welcome the New Year at the Hidden Nature Reserve at Einot Tzukim (Ein Fash’ha), which is the lowest place in the world and includes a number of springs. There will guided tours in which guests will hear stories about local animals living in the nature reserve and be invited to write poems or prayers about the Dead Sea, which unfortunately is drying up. Afterward, there are wonderful cool pools to splash around in and plenty of places to have a picnic in the shade.
Location: Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve Dates: September 9-11 at 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. (the 10 a.m. tour will be longer)