Things to Do Around Israel, December 18-24

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

Cafes in Jaffa.
Guy Yechiely

TEL AVIV AND CENTER

Christmas in Jaffa

The city of Tel Aviv presents “Made in Jaffa,” a series of winter events that take place in Jaffa’s alleyways, streets and port. Includes the Christmas Market where visitors can shop for special gifts, decorations and Christmas trees, as well as browse through its festive food stands. Open throughout December. Wed, Thur 15.00-23.00; Fri, Sat 10.00-22.00. Jaffa Port. Details in English: www.tel-aviv.gov.il/eng

Star Wars at Dizengoff Center 

The comic book store Comikaza is hosting a Star Wars Happening to celebrate the release of the new film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” with a series of lectures and fan quizes (with prizes) led by stand-up comedian Yanay Ben Noach. Fri 09.00-15.00. Comikaza, B building, 3rd floor at Dizengoff Center  

Ice Peaks 

Ice skating rink, climbing wall and zip-line. Fri 11.30-22.00; Sat 10.00-23.00, Mon-Thur 17.30-20.00. Mifratz Shlomo St., Holon

Eretz Israel Museum 

The Planetarium at the museum offers films based on the solar system, on a revolving stage. “Secrets of the Suns,” ages 11+. Sat-Wed at 10.30; Thur 10.30, 14.30, 19.30; “The Wonder Telescope,” ages 7+. Sat-Wed 13.30; Thur 13.30, 16.30; “Stars,” ages 5+. Sat-Wed 11.30; Thur 11.30, 15.30, 18.30;  “Astronaut,” ages 5+. Sat-Wed at 12.30; Thur 12.30, 17.30. 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; www.safari.co.il

Yitzhak Rabin Center

Celebrating the life and legacy of the assassinated prime minister, the center and its museum combine Rabin’s personal story with the development of the burgeoning Jewish State of Israel. Activities include guided historical tours, and educational workshops on such ideas as democracy and remembrance. Fri 09.00-12.30; Sun, Mon, Wed 09.00-15.30; Tues, Thur 09.00-17.30. 8 Haim Levanon St., Ramat Aviv *4585

JERUSALEM AND AREA

Jerusalem Puzzle Quest 

This “escape room” is an interactive game taking place in a locked room and like a mystery puzzle can only be unlocked once the clues are solved and the codes deciphered. The object of the game is to escape and outsmart the Nazir, a character played by a performer, who is trying to keep participants from solving the puzzle within the 60-minute time limit needed to win the game. A team activity for families and groups. Ages 10+. Fri 10.00, 12.00, 14.00; Sat every two hours, on the hour, beginning one hour after Shabbat ends, until midnight; Sun-Thur 10.00-21.00. 28 Pierre Koenig, Talpiot. Registration: www.jpq.co.i

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 

Israel’s biggest plant collection, organized geographically, with over 6,000 plants throughout the grounds. 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. Details: (02) 679-4012, www.en.botanic.co.il

Tower of David

Home to the Museum of the History of Jerusalem, the Tower of David features a permanent exhibit that illustrates the city’s history and its significance to three religions. The tower itself is an archaeological site and offers a 360-degree view of the Old City of Jerusalem. The museum also stages temporary exhibits that connect ancient history with contemporary themes and hosts lectures, guided tours and other cultural events. 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, Sun-Thur 09.00-16.00. www.towerofdavid.org.il

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: 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, Sun-Thur 10.00-17.00. Location at Latrun 1-700-559-559, www.minisrael.co.il

Bloomfield Science Museum

The museum contains exhibits and workshops dealing with light and shadow, construction, levers, illusions, fire, electricity and more. Fri and holiday eves 10.00-14.00; Sat and holidays 10.00-15.00; Mon-Thur 10.00-18.00. www.mada.org.il

Gazelle Valley

Visit the nature park, where deer roam free, despite being surrounded by the urban landscape of Jerusalem. Handicap accessible. Open all hours. Off the intersection of Herzog and Pat streets.

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, park.monkeypark.co.il

SHARON AREA

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 10.30, 12.30. Hakfar Hayarok, Ramat Hasharon (off Hakfar Hayarok junction). Tickets: (03) 524-7373, www.florentinecircus.co.il

HAIFA AND THE NORTH 

A Crusader Experience 

Home to the Hospitaller Fortress (Knights’ Hall), the Old City of Acre presents a series of medieval-themed activities based at the hall that includes candlelight dinners, costumed entertainers and actors (from Akko Theater), singing, dancing and a tournament of knights jousting on horseback. Special host, played by an actor, King Richard the Lionheart, who headed the Christian armies and re-conquered Acre during the Crusades, will attend each dinner and entertain guests. Tues, Thur at 19.00. 1 Weizmann St., Acre. Tickets: (04) 995-6708 

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

Gan Guru

The park is home to wildlife including kangaroos and koalas, with Aboriginal face-painting and guided koala and bat feedings. Fri 09.00-15.00, Sat 09.00-17.00, Sun-Thur 09.00-16.00. Australia Park, Kibbutz Nir David (04) 648-806 

Park of Springs

Explore the Park of Springs (Hamayanot) by foot or bicycle. The park includes springs, a stream, fishponds, heritage sites, migrating birds and agricultural areas. Open daily from 09.00-16.00. Near Kibbutz Nir David (04) 688-1427, www.nirtours.co.il

THE SOUTH

Lunada

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

Bird Watching Park

Learn about the life and migrating patterns of many different bird species, observe them as they land in the nearby lake and trees, and understand Israel’s vital role in many migrating birds’ flight plans and survival. Open daily, at all hours. Off the Arava Rd., from on Route 90 and then east on Route 109. Details: 050-767-1290, http://eilatbirds.com

Underwater Observatory Marine Park, Eilat

The park sits on the coral reef of the Red Sea, providing an up-close introduction to the fauna of the Gulf of Eilat, including over 800 species of fish, corals, mollusks, turtles, rays and more. The park’s shark pool is home to 18 shark species, and offers an underwater observation tunnel, activities and displays. Additional attractions include the open-sea underwater observatory, aquariums, the Amazon Cabin (featuring fauna from the Amazon River), animal feedings, glass-bottomed boat cruises, 3D educational films and more. Daily, 08.30-16.00. Coral (Almog) Beach, Eilat (08) 636-4200, www.coralworld.co.il/en