When coming on your family trip to Israel, you and your family will surely want to visit a variety of Israel’s major cities. While many people come to Haifa to see the Bahai Gardens – seen by many worldwide as a symbol of peace and coexistence, the city has a great deal to offer in addition to this, especially for kids of all ages!
For those who appreciate the themes of coexistence, Haifa is Israel’s most integrated city, with Jews, Christians and Muslims living side-by-side in harmony throughout the area. The Beit-Hagefen Jewish-Arab Cultural Center near the Christian Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas has an interesting children’s library featuring Hebrew, Arabic and English books. Furthermore, Haifa boasts an integrated elementary school, run by the Hand in Hand (Yad B’Yad) organization where children learn all of their subjects in both Hebrew and Arabic.
Any family who has an extra day in Haifa should reserve at least half for MADATECH – The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space. It’s a great place for kids aged three and up with extensive activity options. These include a Planetarium, a real Russian Spacecraft, and over 20 hands-on science exhibits containing hundreds of diverse experiments and a 4-D multi-sensory movie theatre. Make sure to leave time also to explore the Noble Energy Science Park outside, with exhibits demonstrating the theoretical contributions of Pythagoras, Da Vinci, Bernoulli, Galileo, Archimedes and Sir Isaac Newton.
If someone in your family is a fan of boats and sea voyaging, check out the National Maritime Museum, located on Allenby Road in Central Haifa. Also not-to-be-missed is the Hecht Museum, which houses the amazing Ma’agan Mikhael Shipwreck, a 40 foot, 2400-year-old archeological find which would have hauled 15 tons of cargo and features an unusual one-armed anchor.
On the other hand, if someone in your family is interested in dolls, check out the Doll Museum at the Castra Mall. There, you’ll find 1000+ specimens including classic characters such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but also examples from various periods in Jewish/Israeli history, including the Holocaust, early Israel, and peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.
Families with teens, coming on a Bar Mitzvah tour in Israel or a family vacation, who love street art should be sure to check out Masada Street, with masterful graffiti by the Broken Fingaz Crew and other artists, housed within a winding and picturesque lane filled with coffee shops and second-hand clothing stores.
Haifa also is full of great parks. X-Park, the largest extreme adventure sport park in Israel, features a plethora of excellent activities for the whole family, such as paintballing, snappling, a giant zipline, skating, Olympic-level wall climbing, and more. There’s also an 8-million shekel skateboard paradise designed by Oregon’s Dreamland Skateparks, located in Hecht Park on the University of Haifa Campus.
For those looking for a more natural experience, check out the Carmel National Park, which, at 21,000 acres, takes the award for Israel’s largest. There are abundant nature trails, running streams, picnic areas, archeological sites and prehistoric caves – definitely enough to entertain your family for the day. And if you have your own wheels, you can drive through the terrain on one of the well-maintained jeep paths.
While you’re there, climb to the Muhraka Monastery, where students of biblical history will enjoy standing on the same site where the prophet Elijah battled it out with the prophets of Baal. Additionally, from this vantage point, you can look down into the Valley of Armageddon, where the Egyptians fought the Hittites, and where Christian prophecy anticipates the final battle amongst all nations of the world will occur.
From this location, next on the agenda could be the cable cars running from Mount Carmel down to the west edge of Bat Galim Beach – one of the most famous beaches at Hof HaCarmel. Everyone will love getting a great view of the submarine in the bay as well as the city neighborhoods from way up in the air!
Speaking of beaches, families can also check out the Quiet Beach (Hof HaShecket) which is located in back of the Rambam Hospital. The wavebreak in this location makes the water here nearly as calm and as safe as a swimming pool, which is great for kids! Be advised that this beach caters to the religious community, and that Women’s days are Sun/Tues/Thurs and Men’s days are Mon/Wed/Fri. On Shabbat, everyone plays together.
As you can see, Haifa proffers a vast-treasure trove of recreational and cultural resources for the whole family. When coming on your family trip to Israel for a vacation or a Bar / Bat Mitzvah tour in Israel, be sure to consult your travel experts at Dekel Tours to arrange just the right selection of Haifa sights and activities for your family!