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Tel Aviv, Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, known for its white sand beaches on the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, offers green space and plenty of kid-friendly museums and amusement parks that make it perfect for families to visit. And parents and kids alike will enjoy the stellar food options — going to the bustling Carmel Market is an activity in itself!
Getting there with points and miles is feasible — especially with the recent announcement that, as of July 1, 2019, you can use your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to book El Al flights. You may want to start building up your Mileage Plan account with the help of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card (earn a 40,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months).
There are also plenty of family-friend hotels in the city. Once you’ve booked those, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do when you’re there.
Family Fun on the Cheap in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is full of free and fun attractions such as beaches, parks and plenty of playgrounds.
Hit the Beach
Tel Aviv’s beaches are easy to get to from most parts of the city and they’re extremely family-friendly, with lifeguards and facilities, including shaded pavilions, chair and umbrella rentals (6 NIS or about $1.50 for umbrellas and 12 NIS or about $3 for chairs), bathrooms and showers. Walk on the promenade along the coastline and see which spot grabs your fancy — we like Hilton Beach and Metzizim. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes at the beach, so if you don’t bring a picnic, you can easily grab a bite to eat. Remember to bring sunscreen and drink plenty of water because the sun is strong. And, expect lots of crowds, especially Fridays and Saturdays.
Explore Park HaYarkon
Stroll or picnic in Tel Aviv’s largest park. Kids will love clambering around the 10-acre rock garden landscaped with cacti and the 5-acre tropical garden, which is home to swans and orchids. Also in the park is a large bird and reptile sanctuary called Tzapari Bird Jungle Park (52 NIS or about $14.50 per person over 2 years old), a massive playground, a climbing wall, mini-golf and a mini-train ride for tots. There’s even a small petting zoo with deer, ibex, ostriches and emus. It’s free of charge and located next to the parking area. Kayaks, pedal boats and canoes are available on either the Yarkon River that runs through the middle of the park, or on one of the several lakes in the park.
Educational Fun in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has several museums and venues where kids can have fun while learning something, too.
Tel Aviv Art Museum
Centrally located in Lev Ha’Ir, the Tel Aviv Art Museum has something for everyone in the family. Parents will appreciate the impressive collection, while children will enjoy the basement kid’s area full of hands-on activities and exhibits. Best of all, children under 18 are free (adults are 50 NIS, or about $14).
Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
Housed in a modern building on the Tel Aviv University Campus, the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History opened in the summer of 2018. It has a collection of more than five million natural treasures that document the flora and fauna of Israel and the Middle East over thousands of years, as well as human development and the history of humankind. Tickets cost 50 NIS, or about $14, and children under 5 are free. There’s also a family pack of four tickets available for 160 NIS (about $45).
Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Reserve
If your family wants an escape from the city, the gorgeous Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Reserve, between the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is a great place for easy hikes with 635-acre that showcase the flora and fauna of the ancient Land of Israel. Trails feature clear signs in English and describe plants and trees of Biblical Israel, excavated and restored ancient agricultural installations, vineyards and olive groves, water pools, wildlife and breathtaking views. The entrance fee is 25 NIS or about $7.
Israel Children’s Museum
About 20 minutes’ drive or bus ride away in Holon is the Israel Children’s Museum. Adults and children will enjoy and learn from this experience. Other exhibits include The Magical Forest, for ages 2 to 4; The Aliens for ages 8 to 11, and The Dialogue in the Dark, ages 9 and up. Tickets cost 65 NIS each (about $18), while entry to the rest of the museum ranges from 50 to 65 NIS (about $14 to $18).
Splurges in Tel Aviv
Activities in Tel Aviv are generally pretty affordable (or even free) but there are a few splurges that are worthwhile. If you go to one of these theme parks, make sure you’re using the credit card with the best rewards for entertainment purchases.
Located on the edge of Park HaYarkon, Luna Park is Tel Aviv’s small but charming amusement park, with typical fairground games and rides like roller coasters, bumper cars, water slides and carousels for little ones. Entry tickets for children and adults are 125 NIS (about $35), but if you buy them online they’re 112 NIS (about $31). Children under are 2 years old are free. Take note, the price increases during Passover to 135 NIS (about $38) and the crowds are usually unbearable.
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Meymadion Water Park
Operated during the warmer months by the same company that owns Luna Park nearby, Meymadion Water Park offers water-filled amusements like adventure pools, a wave pool, a lazy river, water slides, a toddler pool and a climbing gym in the water for younger kids. Entry is 122 NIS (about $34); children under 2 years old are free.
Restaurants Kids Will Love
Tel Aviv has some of the best food in the world, as well as a rapidly growing gastronomy scene. Some of the city’s hottest restaurants might not be great for kids at night, but there are plenty of kid-friendly dining venues to choose from — and affordable options like a hummus platter or falafel sandwich are easily found throughout the city.
Walking through the city’s main outdoor market (also known as Shuk HaCarmel) is an adventure in itself, with vibrant colors, intoxicating smells and a cacophony of noises. Hundreds of stalls sell everything from produce, meat, and fish to pastries such as baklava and rugelach. There are also some that offer ready-to-eat foods like overstuffed pita sandwiches, hummus platters and crispy chicken schnitzel, making this an affordable and fun lunch stop. There are also non-food items like clothing, kitchen supplies and cheap souvenirs — don’t’ forget to bargain! Try to go Friday morning before Shabbat for a glimpse into typical weekend prep for Tel Avivians — expect lots of people.
Known for his eclectic chocolate creations, Max Brenner also has non-dessert food that kids will love — and there are games and activity booklets available. Hot corn schnitzel comes with fries, carrots, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Spaghetti comes with tomato sauce in an injector that kids can squirt onto the pasta, along with sliced vegetables and sweet corn.
The Old Man & the Sea
This Jaffa port institution offers a lovely waterfront atmosphere and some of the freshest fish around, but don’t worry if your child doesn’t eat fish. There are also chicken, meat and pasta available, as well as a kid’s menu with a choice of schnitzel, hamburger, hot dog, kebab, and pasta with tomato sauce for 54 NIS, or about $15.
This food hall has tons of tasty treats from some of Israel’s best chefs in a casual environment, allowing visitors to sample everything from cookies to ramen.
Tel Aviv is chock full of family-friendly things to see and do, from museums to vibrant food markets to parks and beaches. With plenty of free and affordable options it’s not necessary to spend a ton of money here.
Are you heading to Tel Aviv with your family? Here are some related articles:
- Planning a Family Trip to Tel Aviv
- Your Points and Miles Guide to Tel Aviv, Israel
- 12 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Tel Aviv
- 10 Things No One Tells You About… Tel Aviv
- Date Me! A Review of the Jaffa Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel
Featured image courtesy of Dana Friedlander.
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