The summer days of sand come and go, but the park is here to stay. Although beach season attracts tourists and locals to the Mediterranean coastline like bees to honey, the colder weather tends to scare them off. Hayarkon park, however, is magnificent in its own colorful way year round. Wake up early, hit up Sarona market to pack a picnic of delectable speciality snacks and perhaps a bottle of Israeli wine, then head over to Tel Aviv’s Central Park. From zoos and bird safaris to waterslides, paddle boats and every activity in between, Hayarkon Park is a family’s dream!
Hayarkon Park: activities and attractions
Ever wanted to experience a hot air balloon? Look no further! Floating up to 120 meters high, this giant balloon is an amazing and unique Tel Aviv attraction. Carrying up to 30 people per ride, this massive helium-filled balloon provides a 360 degree view of Tel Aviv, day or night. Located in the beautiful Yarkon Park this adventurous attraction is sure to impress any visitors to Israel.
Ever dreamed of experiencing the chaotic roads like a true Tel Avivian? Well, now you can with these green machines. Tel-O-Fun bicycles are modern, safe, 3-speed bicycles located throughout Tel Aviv. The perks of this green energy alternative are that the user can purchase the bike for varying periods of time and can return the bike to any location in Tel Aviv. Not only that, after purchasing an extremely affordable day-pass, the first 30 minutes are free! As Tel Aviv is highly accessible by bike, the Tel-O-Fun program is an awesome way to explore the city while living like a local. From day to week passes, this ingenious program grants you the freedom and fun of having a bike without the worry of bike theft. So grab one of the signature green bikes and ride along Tel Aviv’s warm and stunning coastline over to Park Hayarkon for an afternoon of exploring.
Get your legs moving or start your engines and enjoy this special spot on the river in Park Hayarkon. With two offerings, visitors can choose the more active route and paddle their pedal boat manually, or go the motor boat route, allowing for a more casual way to explore the river. Park Hayarkon Paddle / Motor Boat Rentals is perfect for all ages, so don’t be shy. It’s worth a detour from the salty ocean to explore the sweet water. So grab your lifejackets, get ready to get your tan on, and spend a calming morning paddling downstream.
During the summer, the pool is the best place to be...besides Mey Madison Water Park. This state-of-the-art water park allows you to surf and swim in dozens of different pools and wet attractions of different kinds, some of which are the most modern in the world. The happy and energetic entertainment staff will keep your spirits high with games, activities and prizes. Come with your whole family, come with your friends, come with your classmates and get swept away in a dizzying and wet experience.
Israel is renowned for its amazing variety of, well, everything, and the Rock Garden, one of the largest of its kind, gives ample expression to Israel’s geological diversity. A poet has certainly been at work on the sign-posted explanations for the various kinds of rock. For example, in this eye-capturing setting, lowly limestone becomes “a gift from the sea” and granite “a message from the depths,” to name a couple of the treasures on display from nature’s sculpture studio. Wandering the trails in the 10-acre enclosure you’ll find the rocks interspersed with some 3,500 species of plants, including over six acres of blooming cacti.
While it may not be the largest exhibit in the park, it definitely is a memorable one. The great animal corner is free and it is located adjacent to multiple picnic tables and barbeque pits. The petting zoo, open daily, provides a charming for a hands-on approach with multiple breeds and species of animals. If you’ve brought the children for a day at Park Hayarkon, a trip to Pinat-Hai is well worth the detour.
The Seven Mills flour mills on the banks of the Yarkon River were open until the late 1920s after some of these mills had worked for centuries. Take a breather from bustling Tel Aviv to walk the landscaped paths and enjoy the views of the mills up close and personal. After that, you can cross a flowing stream via a picturesque wooden bridge to the old dam that once provided the water pressure to operate the mills. Today, the mills are an enjoyable tourist and local attraction, providing visitors with the opportunity to witness an interesting piece of history.
When the weather is just too sizzling to think about enjoying yourselves outdoors, why not head over to the Olympic Experience, a little-known museum next to Park HaYarkon that is entirely devoted to the world’s most famous sporting event. Five halls, each one representing a different ring of the Olympic symbol, uses audio-visual presentations to tell the history of the Olympics from Ancient Greece until modern times. There are plenty of interactive sporting and endurance activities so your children won’t get bored. There’s also a dedicated exhibition of the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich.
Zapari is a bird safari park set in lush gardens with a beautiful mini-lake. Though the majority of the birds in the park are not native to Israel, a handful of species are. Among the park's other birds are imported parrot species, emus, flamingos, toucans, peacocks, crested cranes and much, much more. The Zapari is the best place to spend saturday morning with the kids as it is easy to reach and walk around. If the kids need a break from animal appreciation, the park also has some playground facilities and a small kiosk.
Enter the fanciful world of the Tropical Gardens at Park Hayarkon and prepare to be transported to another realm. Although just in Tel Aviv, the creators of this space have managed to bring in hundreds of plant species that aren’t native to Israel, ultimately turning this garden into a plant museum. Perfect for all ages and fitness abilities, take a stroll down the elegant wooden walkways shaded by palm trees and eventually realize you're walking in a completely environmentally stable community of rainforest plants. Park Hayarkon is filled with a massive variety of attractions, and the Tropical Gardens give visitors another opportunity for exploration.