May 27th 2015
You might be surprised to learn that Israel is home to hundreds of species of exotic animals. Many are indigenous, while others have been imported for the purposes of amusement or scientific observation. Here are some especially compelling tourism opportunities for encountering these animals.
Sea Turtles at Nachal Alexander
Nachal Alexander is beloved by many, thanks to its short hike along a shaded path, free parking, no entrance fee and the chance to see soft-shelled sea turtles. Best times to visit are mornings in the winter. Bring water, snacks and water shoes. The site, not far from Haifa, has a picnic area.
Gators at Hamat Gader
The only crocodile farm in the Middle East is at Hamat Gader, a tourist attraction in the southern Golan Heights best known for its hot springs. The farm here is home to 200 alligators and crocodiles. Catch an alligator feeding show during the summer.
Imported South American alpacas wander around the Alpaca Farm in Mitzpe Rimon in the Negev desert. Feed the
alpacas and llamas, enjoy a tour on horseback, and maybe catch the alpaca wool shearing.
In the Northern Negev desert, near Moshav Urim, learn all about ostriches when you book at tour of the Ostrich Farm. Participate in an ostrich feeding and view a giant ostrich egg.
Coral World Underwater Observatory
Just try to restrain yourself from taking pictures of the amazing, colorful underwater world that comes alive at Coral World Underwater Observatory in Eilat.
Walk among the monkeys or take a hour-hour guided tour of 250 African, Asian, and South American monkeys in the Afrikef Monkey Park, across from the Ben Shemen Forest, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
On Kibbutz Nir David in the Beit Shean Valley, visit a small park that features Australian koalas and kangaroos. The kangaroo petting zoo allows visitors to get up close and personal with the furry roos. Bring one-shekel coins to buy “roo pellets” for hand-feeding.
Best known for extreme sports offering, Deer Land in Gush Etzion also sports a giant wildlife park, along with a petting corner.
Bee and Honey Farm
Rosh Hashana time is high season at the Bee and Honey Farm at Kfar Chabad, where children can learn how bees
Get to know Israel’s wildlife at the country’s top exotic animal-themed attractions. You can spend a few days visiting all of these sites, or pick and choose the ones that most appeal to your family.