Tel Aviv is a congested, fast-paced city and, for the most part, industrial, which can give it the impression of being quite dirty.That being said, visitors can explore pockets of natural beauty and one of these examples is the park named after the city’s late mayor, Joshua Rabinovici, called Ganei Yehoshua.
The park; a peaceful oasis, filled with bike paths, closed off dog trails, picnic spots, children’s playgrounds, basketball hoops and rock climbing walls, is a real urban gem.
Traversing the park is the notoriously dirty and unswimmable Yarkon river, still used by paddle boat rowers and canoeists adding to the tranquil scene.The real swimming and surfing happen at the nearby beach with its clean shores and blue waves.
Keeping with the trendy fitness culture; there are paths for joggers,working-out points, and designated exercise areas.As the park is in a more upscale residential suburb of Tel-Aviv, the park is always filled with people working out or enjoying a peaceful stroll with their families.Understandably, it can get even more crowded on weekends and late afternoons.
Among the other attractions the park encompasses are; a working amphitheater, a mini amusement park, and the Zapari, the largest bird park in the Middle East.
The Zapari Highlights
Though it initially started as a bird park, the place is now home to some reptiles, and domesticated mammals as well as birds. As visitors enter, they can see parrots from around the world along with other exotic birds.
Surprisingly, some of the birds are caged while others roam free though at a safe distance from visitors, which some younger kids might find terrifying.
Our son with autism was especially surprised to watch the albino peacock (they are spectacular when they spread their wings) and a polish hen that raced about looking like Rod Stewart on steroids, shadowing him the entire visit.
Not to be missed are here the interactive parrot show, petting zoo, animal feedings as well as a working bird nursery that teaches visitors how the Zapari institute takes care of occasionally found bird eggs that were abandoned by their mothers.
The day we visited we got to see a sheep giving birth to a lamb; son tothe birth process mesmerizing to the point that he couldn’t bring himself to leave.
Autism Travel Tips.
- The ground is mostly unpaved and somewhat uneven, so have your kid wear closed-toe shoes and avoid going on rainy days.
- If possible go on a weekday, since it is a favorite place to host events like birthday parties for younger children and the place, can become extremely busy.
- Most of the Zapari park attractions are outdoors, with no real shady areas, which can be uncomfortable during the summer days.,especially for temperature-sensitive kids.
- There is an entrance fee of 70 shekels for everyone over the age of two.
- Bring a water bottle along and don’t forget your sunscreen and insect repellent!
- The park has public clean bathrooms, and there are a few stalls that sell snacks. However, I f your child is on a GFCF diet, you might want to bring your snacks with you.
- To tire kids out; parents can rent a bike (bring your helmet) or have them play on the monkey bars. Be aware that the old fashioned monkey bars are made of untreated wood, and your kid can end with a splinter so come prepared with a first aid kit in your purse.
- If your children are hungry after the visiting head to ‘Shut Haikarim’, the organic farmers’ market that is about half a mile away for some fresh sashimi and baked goods.