Things to Do Around Israel, December 11-17, 2015

Your guide to exhibits, tours and other attractions around Israel.

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Kids play on a table at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod.
Plenty to do at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod. Credit: Raanan Tal


Utopia: The Tel Aviv International Festival of Fantastic Film 

The festival that puts a spotlight on science, imagination and the future continues this week. Actor Itay Tiran presents his latest thriller “Demon,” followed by a Q&A session (Sat at 21.30). The event also features conferences, master classes and panel discussions led by philosophers, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. Tel Aviv Cinematheque. December 8-15. At venues around Tel Aviv and Herzliya. Tickets:

Ice Peaks 

The ice-skating rink offers daily ice skating shows, a lottery wheel with prizes, and hosts stars from the children’s hit TV program, “Boys and Girls” in a meet and greet event. The rink includes a climbing wall and zip-line. Fri 11.30-23.00; Sat-Mon 10.00-23.00; Tues-Thur 17.00-20.00. Peres Park, 1 Mifratz Shlomo St., Holon 

Man and the Living World Museum 

The museum hosts creative and educational activities, as well as guided tours of its exhibits for the entire family. Activities include games, ancient artifact restoration projects (in conjunction with the Antiques Authority), and a “Me and My Shadow,” science show for ages 6+ (Sun at 10.00). Activity hours: Sun, Mon 09.00-16.00. Tour hours: Mon 11.00, 12.00. Museum hours: Sat 10.00-17.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-14.00. National Park, Ramat Gan (03) 631-5010

Eretz Israel Museum 

Holiday-themed guided tours (trace stories behind ancient coins and menorahs) and workshops, such as flashlight and menorah making. Fri-Mon 10.30; 11.30; 12.30; 13.30. My Second Childhood Special activities for grandparents and their grandchildren based on stories and artifacts from grandpa and grandma’s childhood. Includes lectures, creative workshops and guided tour of the museum’s exhibits. Sat at 10.30. The Planetarium offers films based on the solar system, on a revolving stage (For show times: Pre-booking required for English performances: (03) 745-5710/720. Museum hours: Fri 10.00-14.00; Sat, Sun-Wed 10.00-16.00; Thur 10.00-20.00

The Safari 

The 250-acre park is home to 200 species of wild mammals, birds and reptiles, and offers tours and activities. Fri and holiday eves 09.00-16.00; Sat-Thur 09.00-17.00 (last entry 2 hours before closing). 1 Sderot Hatzvi, Ramat Gan (03) 630-5305;


Herzl Museum

The museum provides details on the life and influence of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. Lantern tours every Thursday in December with storytelling on the history of Zionism as part of the “Hamshushalayim” events. For the entire family. Thur 20.00-24.00. At the entrance to Mt. Herzl. By appointment: (02) 671-3770

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens 

Fun Hanukkah tours and activities, including menorah and incense-making workshops (Fri 10.00-14.00) and train rides (departs every hour from the entrance). Tour hours: 10.30, 12.00, 13.30. Regular hours: Fri 09.00-15.00; Sat, Sun-Thur 09.00-17.00. 1 Zalman Shneor St. (via Nayot Petrol Station). Shabbat entry from 1 Burla St. (02) 679-4012,

Neot Kedumim

Located in the homeland of the Hashmonaim, the park celebrates Hanukkah with the new activity “Back to the Hashmonaim,” which includes tours and reenactments of the story of the Maccabees and miracle of the oil. Includes a visit to a traditional olive press. At the “Clay Cave” located on Menorah Hill, a potter will demonstrate how to create jugs, lamps and more. Tour ends at an interactive exhibit “Ba’Me Madlikin” which presents 20 clay candles lit with different oils. Fri 09.00-13.00; Sun, Mon 09.00-15.00. Details: (08) 977-0770,  

Festival of the Maccabees (Dec 10-13)

Taking place at the historic sites of the battles between the Maccabees and the Greeks, in the Binyamin and Modi’in regions, the public is invited to take on the roles of biblical characters, dress up in Maccabean costumes and reenact the story of Hanukkah. Special activities include: Visit Nili’s cultural house (in Binyamin) and join in theater performances (hourly shows), an interactive quiz game about Hanukkah and candle-making workshops. Festival hours: Fri 10.00-13.00; Sun 10.00-16.00 at both locations, Mateh Binyamin Regional Council and Hevel Modi’in Regional Council. Details:

The First Station

Arts and crafts activities (ages 3+), games, face painting booths, street theater, as well as children’s theater performances (see Children). A new multimedia show “Amphibian,” from Machol Shalem Dance House, incorporates audience participation, followed by a workshop. Also a Thai street food station, and a musical corner with a varied collection of instruments from around the world. Hours: Fri from 12.00, Sat, after Shabbat ends, Sun from 16.30, Mon from 11.30. 

Bible Lands Museum

A treasure hunt through the museum grounds in a new adventure game called “In Search of the Secret of the Lost Hanukkah Menorah Oil.” Other special activities include theatrical, family tours, original workshops, and a special science show by Dr. Molecule, combining entertainment with accurate scientific facts for all ages. Show times: Sun, Mon at 12.00; Family tour hours: Sun, Mon 10.00, 11.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00; Adult tour hours (in English): Sun, Mon at 10.30 Activity hours: Sun, Mon 10.00-16.00. Museum hours: Fri, Sat 10.00-14.00; Sun-Tues, Thur 09.30-17.30; Wed 09.30-21.30 

Israel Museum 

A magic, illusion and laser show by the Pyromania Group, featuring theater, acrobatics and dance. Ages 3+, Sun 11.00, 12.30, 14.00; Candle, menorah and dreidel-making workshops, Sun, Mon 10.00-15.00; and puppet theater for the entire family. Museum hours: Fri 10.00-14.00; Sat, Sun, Mon, Thur 10.00-17.00; Tues, Wed 16.00-21.00. Details: 

Tower of David

Who Is a Hero? A special tour (accompanied by actors) on the heroes of the history of Jerusalem: King David, Judah Maccabee and Bar Kochba. Followed by a doughnut decorating workshop. Ages 5-14. Fri 10.00, 12.00; Sat-Mon 10.00, 12.00, 14.00; Lamps and Menorahs Walking tour to view Hanukkiot in the Jewish Quarter. Ages 5-14. Sun at 16.30. From Herod’s Palace to British Prison (see Tours). Tour of the museum’s moat and impressive excavation of the Kishle building, whose history spans the days of the First Temple to the establishment of the State of Israel. In English. Fri, Tues at 10.00. Reservations: (02) 626-5333;

The Night Spectacular 

A night show presenting the history of Jerusalem, with images projected onto walls, bridges and hidden pathways of the ancient citadel. Sat 19.30, 20.30; Mon, Wed, Thur 19.00, 20.00. Museum hours: Fri 09.00-14.00; Sat 09.00-16.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-16.00.

Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (Biblical Zoo)

Natural exhibits of over 500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates from around the world. Includes a children’s zoo with a petting corner, animal feeding demonstrations, educational activities and the Noah’s Ark sculpture garden. Among the activities: Chocolate and Candy Festival (Dec 8-14) Residents of the zoo take part in unique festive games that include breaking a specially designed piñata filled with apples, bananas and other fun treats. Includes workshops (ages 8-14), and juggling shows by circus performers. Show times: Mon 11.00, 12.30; Activity hours: Fri 09.00-16.30; Sat 10.00-17.00; Sun, Mon 09.00-17.00. 

Selfie with Thai Elephants 

Every Friday a raffle drawing for a chance to feed and pet the elephants. Proceeds from the draw go to support an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Fri 09.00-16.30; Sat 10.00-18.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-18.00. Biblical Zoo, 1 Derech Aharon Shulov. (02) 675-0111

Mini Israel

Over 350 miniature replicas of historical, religious, archaeological and modern sites and buildings from around the country. Guided tours by appointment. Fri and holiday eves 10.00-14.00; Sat 17.00-22.00; Sun, Mon 10.00-17.00; Tues-Thur 10.00-18.00. Location at Latrun 1-700-559-559,

Bloomfield Science Museum

The museum contains exhibits and workshops dealing with light and shadow, construction, levers, illusions, fire, electricity and more. Among the exhibits: MakeLight Featuring activities and workshops on LED technology, lasers and fire, in the spirit of Hanukkah; and scientist Naftali Centrifugali, an expert on spinning tops and other circular objects, gives dramatized museum tours (daily). For all ages. Fri and holiday eves 10.00-14.00; Sat and holidays 10.00-15.00; Sun-Thur 10.00-18.00.

Monkey Park

Guided tours, workshops, feedings, rides, wall climbing and other activities. Fri and holiday eves 10.00-14.00; Sat-Thur 10.00-18.00. Ben Shemen Forest (near Kfar Daniel) (08) 928-5888,


Animal Adoption Day 

Animal organizations Let the Animals Live and Dogs in the Shadow are hosting an Adoption Day event. Both groups help match stray, abandoned and rescued dogs, cats and other animals to loving families. Fri 12.00-15.00. Moshav Azri’el (near Tel Mond). Details in English: or call Dana 052-343-5870

Florentine Circus 

The circus group presents family fun with “Around the World in 80 Days,” a performance by a Ukrainian acrobat group that includes fire juggling, aerial acrobatics, dance and more, for all ages. Sat 10.00, 12.30, 15.30; Sun at 12.15. Hakfar Hayarok, Ramat Hasharon (off Hakfar Hayarok junction). Tickets: (03) 524-7373,

Ice Skating in Kfar Saba 

A special ice skating rink invites visitors to skate, eat free doughnuts and join in daily candle lighting (in conjunction with Chabad-Lubavitch Center in Kfar Saba). Sun, Mon 11.00-14.00, 16.00-19.00. Hayeruka Mall, 3 Rapaport St., Kfar Saba 


Janco Dada Museum

The museum celebrates the recovery of the Carmel Forest after the devastating fire in 2010 with three days of workshops for parents and children of all ages. Workshops are painting flowers and silk prints, and puppet making with local artists. Also included are guided tours to the nearby artists’ village to learn about its sculptures, residents and the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Fri-Sun 10.00-15.00; tour begins at 13.00. Details: (04) 984-2029, Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod

Hamat Gader

Enjoy a giant tent compound, pedal boats, a parrot show, crocodile feedings, local hot springs, and more. Fri, Thur 08.30-22.00; Sat-Wed 08.30-17.00; Hamat Gader, off Route 98 and south of Lake Kinneret. Details: *6393 


Kibbutz Yad Mordechai

Visit the kibbutz’s heritage museum, cow sheds and apiary and learn about cows and milking, bees and honeymaking, take part in cheese making and beeswax crafts workshops, and taste fresh honey. Be a Maccabee for a Day An adventure game filled with clues and riddles that retells the story of Hanukkah. Participants are given a text that once deciphered will lead them to the next clues and ultimately to the game’s finishing point. The clues lead to different activity stations around the kibbutz. Stations include a tractor ride and beeswax candle making workshop. Fri-Sun 10.00-15.00. Also a special evening tour of heritage sites throughout the kibbutz, accompanied by storytelling. Sun 19.00-21.00. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai (08) 672-0559,


A children’s museum offering an interactive experience, with original games that activate the senses. Sat 09.30-18.30, Sun-Thur 09.00-13.00, 16.00-19.00. Lunada, 25 Hareuveni St., Be’er Sheva