Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv

 

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pin

About an hour’s drive away from the ancient capital city Jerusalem is Tel Aviv, the second most populated town in Israel. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, tourists come for the white, sandy beaches and surfing. However, there is far more to this fast-paced city than meets the eye. Here is our list of fifteen must do things for kids in Tel Aviv.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv sky

Zapari in Ganei Yehoshua

In the heart of Tel Aviv is Ganei Yehoshua. It is basically to Tel Aviv what Central Park is to New York, but on a much smaller scale. A peaceful oasis of grass and trees, children’s playgrounds, picnic spots, paddle-boat hire, climbing walls and much more, it is a fantastic place to take the kids.

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There is also the Zapari, the biggest bird park in the Middle East. This park features an interactive parrot show and avian nursery where they teach visitors how to look after and hatch eggs. Also, they have a petting zoo, animal feedings, reptiles, and other small animals.
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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should allow a few hours to enjoy this location thoroughly.Packing sunscreen , insect repellent and hand wipes is a good idea.
  • This place is the perfect location for antsy and active kids to get out some energy.
    Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv beach

 

Tel Aviv Old Port

Built between 1936 and 1938, the old port of Tel Aviv is now far more famous for its restaurants, pier, and water sports among other things. The Yarkon River estuary empties into the Mediterranean here and offers spectacular scenery making it a popular place for walking. Travelers will see joggers passing by at all hours of the day from sunrise to midnight.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Bring the kids here for some delicious ice cream or gelato while you watch a magnificent sunset over the sea.
  • There are bikers and skaters everywhere so parents should be attentive.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv red

Carmel market

For those wanting to give their children a real cultural experience, the Carmel Market is the place to go.
It is the largest open-air market in Tel Aviv and the sights, smells and sounds should not be missed! What both tourists and locals alike enjoy most about the “Shuk HaCarmel” is that everything is fresh.

Travelers can walk through the alleyways seeing the spices, dried fruit, and yellow and white cheeses. They have other ready-to-eat meals with Druze, Yemenite, Iraqi and Eastern European influences, as well as traditional Middle Eastern street food.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Don’t miss out on the freshly squeezed and pressed fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Parents with kids with smell sensitivities might want to avoid the smelly alleyways where fresh fish, meat, and chicken is prepared and sold.
  • Like most markets, this one can be noisy which may be challenging for noise sensitive kids.
  • The market tends to be crowded on Fridays.
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Nachlat Binyamin

Keeping with the open-air theme, another great place to take children is the Nahlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall. During the week, it is a favorite place to buy fabrics and art materials. However, twice a week, there is the Arts and Crafts Fair where local artists sell their extremely well made and unique wares. Street performers wow the crowds and there are all sorts of delicious foods to purchase to satisfy all palates.

 

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is a great place to introduce kids with autism to street performances.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv car

Neve Tzedek

This neighborhood, dated back to the 1880’s, started out as a prosperous little suburb of Tel Aviv where artisans lived. One hundred years later, it had become a neglected slum full of ruins and a bad reputation. If some of the houses had not been on the preservation list, the whole area would have been demolished. Plans were made instead to renovate and beautify Neve Tzedek with an attempt to restore it to its former glory.Nowadays, Neve Tzedek is also known for its winding alleyways, charming restaurants, and beautiful architecture.
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One of the places to take your child to see is the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art which is named for a very well-known Israeli author, painter, sculptor, illustrator and all-round artist who was born just before the turn of the 20th century and spent a good portion of his early childhood in Neve Tzedek. The museum exhibits much of the late Nahum Gutman’s work in all sorts of mediums.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location to take art and history buffs.
  • The sidewalks aren’t well kept so close toe shoes are advised.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pond

Sarona

Sarona is a newly renovated neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Children might like to see houses that were moved whole from one place to another in the preservation project. Virtually each house in the neighborhood serves as a museum with a story to tell.

Sarona was originally a German colony established in the 1870’s, and as the residents got older and moved away, the population dwindled. Now, visitors will find a  bustling market, a vast grassy area with the best outdoor gym and a popular place for community events and performances.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a great place to relax outside between events.
  • The indoor market can be noisy at rush hour.17104889215_89ea63552e_k

Beit Hatfutsot

No matter how old they are, something every child would enjoy is Beit Hatfutsot. Located at the Tel Aviv University, this is the Museum of the Jewish People and their culture. Many displays and exhibits depict over four millennia of Jewish history in permanent displays. There are also temporary exhibitions during the summer or other times of the year. Children and adults alike enjoy seeing the incredibly colorful dioramas and other audio-visual displays. It is an excellent introduction to Jewish history and life both local and international.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Best time to visit is in the early afternoon after the school groups leave.

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Azrieli Mall and mini theme park

The Azrieli Mall is the place to go for a unique theme park experience. Made up of three geometrically shaped buildings, the Azrieli Towers are a landmark in central Tel Aviv and currently include the largest shopping center in this city.
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On the third floor, there is a roof section with a mini theme park called The Island. It is a water-based park and has a pirate ship with slides. There is even a little train ride around the ‘island.’Throughout the area, there are trampolines, climbing walls and rope sky-walks all with supervised lifeguards.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Budget a few hours at this place and have lunch in one of the restaurants in the Mall’s food halls.

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Old Jaffa

The most southern and coastal part of the Tel Aviv municipality is Jaffa. With its ancient port and its ancient winding alleyways and arched walkways, it is quite an adventure to explore. There are little museums and even the remains of a second-century house.In the newer section of Jaffa, there is a flea market as well as lovely little cafes and restaurants with excellent menus.

Old Jaffa is an artist colony with amazing galleries and workshops, and the weekly craft market should not be missed. One can visit St Peter’s, a centuries-old church, an old lighthouse, and a wishing bridge with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should be aware the Old Jaffa area ground is uneven, and there are steps to navigate.

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White City Tour

A little-known fact about Tel Aviv is that this city was a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. This is because of a unique architectural style of residences, the largest collection in the world, called Bauhaus. It became very popular from the late 1920’s and into the 1930’s because it combined practicality, design functionality and the ability to use less expensive building materials; perfect for that time in Tel Aviv’s history.The city’s municipality offers Bauhaus tours and even free guided tours for visitors.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should try the free tours since they can leave at any time.

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Gordon Pool

This Olympic sized pool was first built in 1954 and has undergone much reconstruction. There is an entrance fee, but it in worth it to be able to experience the refreshingly cold water in the summer and also make use of the heated indoor pool in winter.

 

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • For kids who are afraid of swimming in the sea, this is an excellent introduction to swimming in salt water.

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Tel Aviv Marina

With beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the piers, the stretch of white beaches, and a variety of hotels and restaurants, the Tel Aviv Marina should not be missed. The area is well known for its surfing, sailing and canoeing activities and other outdoor sports.A popular past-time among locals in this area is a bat and ball game that has the locals call Matkot. The trick is to break the record and not lose the rhythm by dropping the ball.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are a lot of great physical activities here for energetic children with autism.16484685583_9d97695246_k

Buffet Israeli breakfast

There is no shortage of good places to partake of this delightful culinary experience. Children would enjoy having an Israeli breakfast buffet style.

Each establishment has their atmosphere, style and signature dishes. Start off with a selection liquid refreshments both hot and cold. Move on to cereals, porridges, yogurts, eggs: boiled, fried, scrambled or prepared by the chef in a design-your-own-omelet variety.
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There is also Shakshuka, an egg poached in a spicy tomato based sauce or the creamed spinach white version. One can try savory and sweet pastries,  freshly prepared local or international salads and the option to build your own with seeds, dried fruit, and dressings.

There are cheeses, both yellow and white that come with added olives or garlic and herbs. Also, there are different fish options like smoked salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Continue with the Israeli version of pies called bourekas and end the meal with fresh fruit, either whole or in a fruit salad There is no way to leave a Tel Aviv breakfast buffet hungry!

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents of children with food sensitivities should always ask servers if they are unsure about what ingredients make up a dish.
  • These breakfasts are an excellent way to introduce kids with autism to new tastes and textures.

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Hotel Sabbath Dinner

Many hotels offer this experience, like the Hilton Tel Aviv for example. This activity is a cultural experience that requires much preparation in advance on the part of the staff to get everything served before the sun sets on a Friday night, so as to comply with the kosher laws of Judaism. The dinner is a wonderful way to start the Shabbat, the holy and commanded day of rest.

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There are hot and cold dishes including various meats and poultry, vegetables, side dishes, and pastries. The desserts catch the eye of those who have a sweet tooth. Some hotels have an allocated room for a synagogue especially for conducting religious services. It is very special even to be on the outside hearing prayers and singing.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should make sure their children are respectful of the customs they witness.8573265967_5b2f113c48_k

Holon Comics Museum

To the South East of Tel Aviv and under a different municipality is the Holon Comics Museum. It is a unique institution in Israel and specializes in cartoons and caricatures, humorous and artistic in nature. They have exhibits and displays as well as workshops for children and adults of all ages. There are life-sized cartoon cutouts dotted about the museum grounds and massive sculptures based on pictures that are interactive and children can climb on them. It is an excellent experience and a great way to introduce children to this form of art.
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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location for any comic collector. Parents should be advised most signage is in Hebrew.
  • Children interested in art may be interested in the workshops offered at this site.

 

 

 

 

Exploring Tel Aviv’s New Sarona Market with Family

 

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Sarona Market with Family pin

Centrally located on the north-south axis in Tel Aviv is the neighborhood of Sarona. German Lutherans under the Ottoman Empire first established Sarona 140 years ago. The settlement declined over time, and the buildings were all but in ruins. Then, in the mid-2000’s, a project began to restore the old suburb entirely. Today, Sarona is a thriving and highly sought after piece of real-estate with many great activities for families.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family meat

The Shopping Area

Not more than ten minutes by car from the beach and Azrieli Mall, this shopping venue was an excellent place to spend the afternoon. Surrounded by restored buildings of yesteryear, we saw plenty of family-friendly eateries, clothing, and toy stores.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family play

In front of the entrance to the luxurious food market, there was a shaded playground with equipment geared for all ages and abilities. The area featured climbing walls, gyroscopes, twirling roundabouts, and other accessories that are perfect for children, especially those with sensory issues. Also, the whole playground was constructed on rubberized soft-play flooring under shading. While children played with little supervision needed, adults could keep an eye on them while resting.

The Food Market

The Sarona Market, which opened in August 2015, is the largest indoor food market in Israel. It is open every day of the week including the Sabbath which adds to its uniqueness.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family cheese

There were almost 100 different stalls and stores in the vast space, a feast for eyes and taste buds! Visitors could enjoy purchases on the premises, buy food to take home or eat at a picnic spot nearby. The market covered an area of nearly 30,000 square feet and was a sea of colors, fragrances, and aromas.

Meats, Pastas, and Lunch Items

We toured the market on a Friday afternoon soon after it opened. We saw many new vendors and excited crowds enjoying the culinary delights offered. Many vendors, like the popular falafel stall staff, handed out free samples.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family rainbow

As we walked around, we saw specialty artisan pasta, pastries, jams, spreads, and sauces. We counted at least two delis where visitors could build their own sandwiches while enjoying freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. We even tried a tarragon soda!

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family buy

There were long lunchtime lines with shoppers, some with their dogs on leashes, ordering sandwiches and other delicious treats. We noted Tapas, German sausages and pretzels, and a station for Druze cuisine from which to choose.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family gelato

Next, we stopped to gawk at the fish and seafood bar. We also saw the kosher butchery, which displayed beautifully presented meat, and the shop selling family recipe stuffed vegetables.

For Coffee lovers seeking libations, there were plenty of options offering specialty cappuccinos and lattes.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family bread

Wine, Cheeses, and Sweets

We enjoyed the wine shop with a unique tasting room which worked on a swipe-card method. The venue featured soft cups that looked like glass but were made out of plastic so they couldn’t break.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family color

The sight of many colored olives in different marinades and cheeses such as white, yellow, soft, hard, smelly, imported and local grabbed our attention while we passed by the store. Nearby we noticed a stall selling kitchen supplies, olive oils, and whiskeys where buyers could even mix their own liqueurs.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family white

The massive selection of pick and mix sweets, candies, chocolates, and dried fruit available in the market could cause patrons to mull over options for hours. The market offered a fantastic selection of desserts from which to choose. These included natural fruit sorbets, ice-creams, a fill-your-bucket with cookies option and our son’s personal favorite – the crêperie offering several fillings for crêpes.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family wine

Noteworthy was the Halva Kingdom, featuring an incredible variety of the sesame treat in custom flavors like banana, cashew, pecan, and dates produced right on the premises. The store offered unlimited tastings of the treats that had our son with autism wishing he could move in and live there.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family gear

Overall we found the market complex was a fantastic ending to our brief Tel Aviv visit and we highly recommend it for families. With something for everyone’s taste and palate, what’s not to love?

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family fish

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For children who are noise-sensitive, this needs to be a significant consideration. There is no time in the market when it is less noisy or less crowded so parents should make sure they have secured a quiet retreat to allow their child to decompress if necessary.
  • With the crowds, it can be difficult to move freely, and if there are long lines, patience will be required. Parents should prepare their child in advance.
  • The market is well ventilated and temperature controlled. However, parents wishing to visit in the hotter months should bring a handheld fan if their child is temperature-sensitive.
  • Security guards patrol the market, and one can feel safe and secure while shopping.
  • The market as well as the neighborhood caters to wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Public toilets are provided and well serviced.
  • The market is very visual and interactive and a beautiful place to explore. Anyone could spend as little or as short a time as they would like. Parents should take care to monitor how their child is enjoying it or if it is overwhelming.
  • Parents should prepare their child by planning in advance what everyone would like to see, taste and experience. There is a list on the Market’s website.

 

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