June 11th 2015
There are several tourist attractions in Israel that specialize in one or two kinds of animals, such as the Crocodile Farm at Hamat Gader in the Golan Heights or the Australian koalas and kangaroos at Gan-Garoo in the Beit Shean Valley. But if you want to see a whole variety of animals from around the world in one place, here’s an introduction to Israel’s three top zoos.
Species in the City of Gold
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has something for everyone. You’ll be charmed by the Noah’s Ark-shaped visitors’ center. Ride the zoo train’s circular path to get an overview of the grounds. The Children’s Zoo, with a petting corner and Noah’s Ark Sculpture Garden, runs educational programs for youngsters. Night tours educate groups about nocturnal animals.
True to its name, the Biblical Zoo specializes in animals from the Land of Israel and especially animals that are mentioned in the Bible.
Urban Safari Experience
Also known as Safari Ramat Gan, the Zoological Center in Tel Aviv is the largest zoo in the Middle East. Smack in the middle of the of Ramat Gan, a municipality of its own but essentially a Tel Aviv neighborhood, here you’ll find over 200 different kinds of mammals, reptiles and birds.
At the Zoological Center, the animals are uncaged, and visitors drive through the zoo, witnessing animals living as they do in their native habitats. You’re encouraged to observe the animals’ feeding habits, how they behave in herds and the differences between males and females of the same species – all from the safety of your vehicle.
Natives by the Bay
Given its modest size at just a little over 8.5 acres, the Haifa Educational Zoo is a perfect zoo experience for families with small children. Native Israeli mammals such as the ibex, camels, wild boars, jackals and more form a core of the zoo’s collection of 100 types of animals. Recent renovations replaced old-fashioned cages with open displays that mimic the animals’ natural habitats. Don’t miss the petting zoo and the Prehistory Museum, which educates its visitors about what life was like in the region thousands of years ago.
Since each of Israel’s top three zoos offers something special, if you’ve got kids in your group and have the time, you may want to visit them all.