Travelling with children is not only fun and memorable for them, but is fulfilling for parents too. The key to a successful family holiday is good planning and choosing a destination that offers plenty of child focused activities. Jerusalem is a city that lends itself perfectly to family holidays, and is one that, with a little organisation can offer a fun-packed adventure for adults and children alike. Here are our top three must-dos in Jerusalem when visiting with the youngsters.
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
A zoo is always a hit with families and the zoo in the city of Jerusalem is no exception. Set in a stunning valley, there is a small manmade lake that is home to exotic bird species, monkeys, and even a petting zoo. Paths leading around the zoo are wide and easy to navigate and the exhibits are clearly laid out and simple to follow. On those days when the weather is too hot for walking there is always the option of taking the little tractor-drawn ‘train’ that will lead you on a tour around the highlights. Children can feed the koi in the fish-petting pond, go on pony rides in the summer months and enjoy reading the biblical verses that are related to the animals that you find at each enclosure. They will also love climbing on the Nikki St Phalle sculptures in the sculpture garden: some children love this more than the zoo!
Sunday – Thursday: 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Friday and Holiday Eves: 9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.
Saturday and Holidays 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
City of David
Take your children to the City of David and open up their eyes to the history of this incredible city. Here they can hike through Hezekiah’s water tunnel and imagine themselves living back in the time when they would have had to smuggle water into the city. The Temple Mount Sifting Project is a well organised project run at the City of David and adults and kids alike can spend time here acting as real life archaeologists sifting through rubble in search of ancient artefacts, while guided by experts. This is great fun for everyone and a wonderful learning experience.
Sunday – Thursday: 4.00 P.M to 8.00 P.M (winter schedule) and 5.00 P.M. to 9.00 P.M (summer schedule).
The Bloomfield Science Museum
If you have kids who love science then this has to be on the must-do list. More suited to older children, this veritable haven of interactive exhibits, visual illusions and fun activities will keep kids occupied for hours. The main floor is dedicated to children’s literature and houses science activities that have been designed to depict different events from some of the Israeli children’s classics. There are mystical elevators working with pulley systems that allow children to lift their parents, and a carousel of horses that needs to be powered by the children riding a bike. There’s a harp strung with light beams that can be played, and the children can also create their own lightening bolts. In fact, they will be inundated with things to do at this fantastic museum, which is one of the best.
Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Friday: 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Saturday: 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
How to get there to Jerusalem
Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion airport is 60km from the city of Jerusalem and is the airport that welcomes most holidaymakers visiting the city. With direct flights from many European cities, including Istanbul, Rome, London, Munich and Vienna, this is a well-served international airport. If you are looking for a reliable means of reaching the city on arrival into the airport, book with Shuttle Direct, the reputable transfer company that will take you door to door in an efficient and stress free manner.
Where to Stay
HaShimi Hotel – Budget conscious travellers with families won’t go wrong if they choose to stay in the HaShimi Hotel situated right in the heart if the Old City of Jerusalem. With elegant décor, a beautiful garden and a rooftop that boasts a stunning terrace with fabulous views, this modern, comfortable hotel is a great place to relax after a day pounding the pavements visiting the attractions of the city. The main sites are all easy to walk to from the hotel.
Eldan Hotel – Conveniently located right in the main tourist area, this mid range accommodation option offers free parking, has rooms with air conditioning and also offers free Wi-Fi. Rooms have cable TV and the service is reputably attentive. Only a 10-minute walk to the Old City, the Eldan Hotel is also close to the shops and restaurants on Ben Yehuda Street.
Mamilla Hotel – If you are splashing out on your holiday in Jerusalem and looking for a 5-star stay then Mamilla Hotel is a good option. Designed by Piero Lissoni, the famous architect, the hotel has a stunning rooftop terrace, offers a great selection of restaurants, live music in the bar and a wellness centre, sauna and fitness room. Rooms boast LCD TV, Egyptian cotton linen and are decorated with a modern flair for interior design. This hotel is the perfect choice if luxury is one of your priorities.