Israel offers great possibilities to encounter marine life, both in controlled environments and in the wild. When coming on your private tour in Israel, the following are just a few of the many opportunities you and your family will have to learn more about Israel’s diverse marine ecosystems.
Aquarium and Marine Observatory
One such opportunity is to be had at the new Israel Aquarium, located near the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, which has a fantastic shark exhibit, including tunnels to walk through that give the impression of being inside the tank. There are also sneak peak windows to view behind-the-scenes scientific research and an area where kids can feed the stingrays!
Another outstanding and unique opportunity is to be found at the Underwater Observatory Marine Park Eilat. The Observatory consists of two large underwater rooms, 40 feet below the sea, from where visitors can gaze through plate glass windows at over 800 species of fish, mollusks, turtles, sharks, stingrays and all kinds and colors of coral and plantlife. There are eight feedings throughout the day (every half-hour from 11 am – 3 pm). To add to the attraction and learning experience, the divers remain in audio contact with the audience throughout the feed.
One of Israel’s most amazing marine encounters is at the Dolphin Reef Eilat. There, visitors have the chance to either snorkel, dive, or swim with a pod of dolphins living free in the wild in a secluded cove on the Red Sea. By intention, the dolphins are not touched, fed or otherwise chased by the humans in the Reef, and as such, they approach on their own terms and themselves freely choose to encounter visitors.
There are also various kinds of therapies offered at the Dolphin Reef Eilat. These include water relaxation treatments in a quiet pool surrounded by botanic gardens, and one-on-one Dolphin Encounter Therapy for special-needs kids for which people fly in from Europe and beyond. There is also a great bar/restaurant on the premises.
Sea Turtle Sanctuary
An amazing tour experience takes place every Saturday in Mikhmoret, about 1-hours’ drive north of Tel Aviv at the Israel Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. And this time, it’s a 150-million year old reptilian species of marine life that’s receiving the rehabilitation.
Started in 1999 by marine biologist Yaniv Levy at Israel’s Mevo’ot Yam Naval School, the Center houses a rotating population of both green and brown-loggerhead sea turtles who are recovering from various injuries caused by fishing and damage to beaches and nesting sites. Visitors are introduced to the turtles by name, learn about turtle endangerment, and even get to watch the residents frolic and splash at feeding time!
At the time of this writing, new Sea Turtle Rescue Center soon be established in the Alexander Stream National Park. The new facility will include 3000 square feet of new treatment and breeding pools and a protected, artificially constructed beach where turtles can nest and lay their eggs as they would in the wild.
In addition to the amazing marine-life encounters described above, there is also a great selection of diving experiences to be had both in the Red Sea and in the Mediterranean. In particular, the PADI Wreck Diver and Coral Reef Conservation courses are recommended before or while visiting Israel because of the unique underwater terrain enjoyed here.
Israel is full of opportunities to encounter marine life in an intimate and educational setting. When coming on your family trip to Israel, be it a Bar/ Bat mitzvah tour in Israel or a family vacation, talk to the marine-life experts at Dekel tours to choose just which experiences will be most fun and interesting to your family.