A carefree day in Tel Aviv in between your Jerusalem visit and a tour of northern Israel can be a great way to break up the sightseeing. The beach beckons, of course, but for a more active experience, spend a few hours exploring Ganei Yehoshua, which the locals also call Yarkon Park. The wide strips of lawns, physical fitness fun and natural attractions begin where the Tel Aviv Port ends and stretches for hundreds of acres eastward along the Yarkon River.
Grab brunch or lunch at one of numerous restaurants at the port then walk it off along the river. Or imitate countless number of Israeli families, spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the park.
A 15-minute walk east from the port will bring you to the first of several playgrounds and a tiny public zoo with deer, gazelles, gerbils, ducks and swans – favorite spots for Tel Aviv families, especially those with small children. You can cross one of a number of bridges to the northern part of the park where you’ll find Sportec, an outdoor center whose star feature is the 45-foot high climbing wall, known, with typical Israeli bravado, as “Olympus.”
Further east, the ribbon of river surrounds the heart of the park and its other attractions. There’s the Rock Garden where you'll find, in 10 compact acres, examples from the incredible geological variety that makes Israel so amazing. The signs explaining each type of rock, from all parts of the country, are as poetic as the natural forms themselves. Six of the acres are planted with cacti and there’s a view of the park’s lake, which you should also make a point to visit.