For the average child, visiting museums in Israel can be a yawn-fest. But it needn’t be about schlepping them through Jewish art galleries brimming with Old Masters’ paintings in the hope that your toddler doesn’t throw a tantrum in front of a Titian. We’ve a rounded up the top kid-friendly museums in Israel to give your tots a touch of Israeli culture. From vintage car exhibitions and sculpture gardens to a miniature replica of Israel's top attractions and the world's only outdoor science museum, it'll be hard to get your children to leave these special gems.
The best museums in Israel for children to enjoy
Purpose-built for kids, this museum offers a range of activities for kids aged 2-12. Unlike conventional museums, children are encouraged to touch all of the displays, and even play a role in the exhibits. Not-to-be-missed are the famous 'Dialogue in the Dark' and 'Invitation to Silence' exhibits, two experiences that provide emotional and telling insight into the worlds of blind and deaf people.
Jerusalem's Citadels, known locally as the "Tower of David," is a magnificently restored archaeological structure that bears witness to thousands of years of history. Inside the ancient guard rooms is a museum that houses permanent exhibitions telling the story of Jerusalem through specialized cultural events, activities, tours and temporary exhibitions. From the top of King Herod's tower, there are breathtaking 360 degree views of the city, both new and old. Don't forget to check out what new app or digital development they have to better experience the stories of the city. Also, don't miss the Night Spectacular: an outdoor sound and light show projected onto its stone wells telling the rich story of Jerusalem.
The Israeli Cartoon Museum was founded in cooperation between the city of Holon and the Israeli Cartoonist Association. The museum houses exhibits on various themes, presenting local Israeli cartoonists and leading creators in the field. It encourages academic research of cartoons, caricatures, and comics as a way of analyzing Israeli society and culture. Various educational programs, artist master classes, workshops and more are also available at the Israeli Cartoon Museum. A dream for comic enthusiasts, it will have you looking at animation in a new way. The perfect outing for families, with free admission for children under 5.
The Coral Beach Underwater Observatory Marine Park offers a myriad of activities connected to a spectacular underwater universe, incorporating underwater observatories, a nature museum, 40 fish tanks, a sea turtle/stingray pool and a shark pool. There's even a darkroom specifically designed to showcase the fascinating flashlight fish: a bioluminescent fish that carries a glowing bacteria beneath their eyes, enabling them to "turn on and off" at will by raising or lowering a small flap of muscle. 100 meters from the shoreline is the underwater observatory containing two observation decks located below the surface, and one located above. Climb 90 steps to the Peace Terrace for expansive views of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Science-lovers will ooh and aah at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve’s Oceanarium: a virtual-reality, science-fiction movie with interactive moving seats and a large screen.
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.
Rehovot is home to the world’s only outdoor science museum, the Clore Garden of Science at the Weizmann Institute. Over 90 hands-on exhibits demonstrate the laws of physics, solar energy, and water power in a highly interactive way. There is also an “EcoSphere” housing a range of ecological elements including wet and dry vegetation, fish, air, earth and water.
This unique museum is located in an Industrial Park in Omer, with the impressive desert scenery of the Negev serving as the backdrop. In addition to a changing art gallery featuring top Israeli artists, there is also an interactive sculpture garden and vintage car collection which is sure to delight adults and children alike.
This is a great museum for curious kids and adults alike. Giant exhibitions invite visitors to a hands-on experience surrounding history's greatest scientists and inventors. 3D films in the ‘Cinematrix’ are enhanced by moving seats, wind, water, and bubbles.
This quaint museum aims to promote puppetry as a communicative art form and is one of only a handful of puppet museums in the world. In addition to a permanent collection of traditional and contemporary puppets and masks, there are always performances and puppet shows courtesy of the adjoining school of puppetry.
The Eretz Israel Museum is more than a series of exhibits exploring the history and culture of Israel. Inside the multidisciplinary museum sits a magical place that is literally “out of this world.” At the Planetarium you can sneak a peek at the stars the same way that Galileo did through his telescope. Watch a riveting presentation about the mysterious galaxies that exist all the while spinning in revolving seats or learn about Israel’s first ever astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and view real time pictures of outer space provided by NASA. The Planetarium is a great place to bring your children and also expand your adult minds to the boundless worlds of science. English presentations are available by reservation.
Ein Yael is a nature reserve close to Jerusalem’s train station. It also serves as a living museum which fuses history and nature by allowing visitors to walk ancient Roman roads, meet live craftsmen from that period, and take part in a host of interactive workshops.
For a chance to explore the best of what Israel’s local artists have to offer, head east from Tel Aviv to the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat Gan. One of the only museums in the country exclusively dedicated to Israeli art, this old favorite aims to promote contemporary Israeli art alongside the works of veteran artists. Founded in 1987, the museum has established itself on the national scene and displays regular exhibitions in its four main halls from various disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, and 3D design. Check online for a schedule of their performances for children.
From Jerusalem’s holiest sites to the urban beaches of Tel Aviv, the desert sun, and everything in between, come to Mini Israel to see it all. Here you will find hundreds of accurate models of the most important architectural, historic, religious, archaeological and social sites of Israel. The models sit surrounded by Bonsai trees and rich greenery and contain thousands of figurines of various Israelis. Watch a 3-D MiniMax aerial movie of Israel and view breath taking photography of the beautiful country. Located in Latrun, it sits just 20 minutes away from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A must see for people of all ages and backgrounds.