Zoological Garden

September 13th 2010

Jerusalem’s Tisch Zoological Gardens, also known as the Biblical Zoo, offers animal lovers of all ages an up-close and personal look at the animals mentioned in the Bible, as well as other popular zoo animals. This modern zoo showcases animals in their natural habitats — wide open spaces where the animals can roam freely, rather than remaining confined behind bars. Located on the slope of one of Jerusalem’s southern mountains, this kid-friendly animal paradise doesn’t just offer a world-class zoo experience, but a rich Jerusalem atmosphere with breathtaking scenery. The Tisch Zoological Gardens also houses an animal hospital and various educational and research facilities.

The emphasis here is on Biblical animals; there are over 170 animal species on display, most of which are mentioned in the Bible. The spacious grounds include 62 acres of nature and feature a huge man-made lake with two waterfalls. There are plenty of delicious shaded spots at which to rest while enjoying the view. If you’ll be exploring the zoo for a few hours, bring a picnic lunch.

Given that Noah is best known for tending to all the world’s animals, the Visitors’ Center was designed and built to resemble Noah’s ark as depicted in children’s books. Inside the ark is a lecture hall and auditorium. A gallery area houses temporary exhibits and a computer station offers a place to research biblical animals. There is also a souvenir shop and a cafeteria on the deck of the ark, offering grand views of the hills surrounding Jerusalem. The Visitors’ Center is located amidst the Noah’s Ark Sculpture Garden, with more than 20 enormous mosaic sculptures of fantasy creatures.

Your whole group will enjoy the zoo train that runs on a circular route and offers an overview of the zoo grounds. The train ride itself is a fun activity for children, but it’s also helpful for those with mobility impairments. Nevertheless, the zoo is best enjoyed on foot, allowing visitors to see the animals at close range as they eat, rest and play. If there are younger children with your group, allow some time to visit the area that’s dedicated to them, which includes a playground, a petting zoo and a snack bar.