Jezreel Valley – A Unique Zoo and a Delicious Knafe

Dror Bederman

Dror Bederman

Tour Designer and Expert Tour Guide in Israel.

You are visiting friends in Tel Aviv or staying at a hotel in the center of Israel, and you are looking to spend a day at the northern parts of Israel.  A day like that does not have to involve a long drive or even a few day’s stay in the north. You can easily have a fun day at a close northern location that offers several attractions for the children and for the children-at-heart.

Here are three recommended sites you may want to visit at Jezreel Valley, for a fun day with the family.

Gan Guru – a Zoo unlike any other

This is an unusual zoo where you can meet, face to face, and even touch various animals that you do not normally see in other zoo.

The zoo is based on the non-intermediate contact with the animals and so you can see rare Koalas on trees, with no fences separating them from the visitors, kangaroos jumping around freely, birds and bats flying around undisturbed.

The zoo has two Koalas, a male and a female, and 5 species of kangaroos, including the rare Kangaroo Rat, a species in danger of extinction. You cannot pet or feed the koalas, but you can definitely pet the kangaroos gently, and feed them with a special nutritious mixture that costs 1 ILS. If you are lucky, you can even see some pregnant female kangaroos, with their babies in their pockets.

You may also see some Australian EMU birds, resembling the ostrich in size and looks, but be careful not to go near them, or near the Kazuar Bird, for that matter. It is a very aggressive and territorial animal.

To the parrots, however, you can and are invited to come near. You are invited to hold fruit on a stick which draws the parrots to you. They, then, sit comfortably on your shoulder and pick at the fruit. It is a great moment to take a picture of your child with a big, colorful parrot sitting on his shoulder, like a true pirate.

After the parrots, come the bats and them the Lizards, where you can watch them behind a glass window.  The reason for that being, unlike the South American vegetarian Iguana lizard, the Goanna lizards are violent meat eating lizards that use their tail to whip hard. They are not friendly and their bite can cause infection as they are scavengers.

Once you are out of the Lizard compound, you can continue to the pet corner where you can feed and pet farm animals such as donkeys and small goats.

Or, you can go to the maze area of the zoo, where you can find a maze with distorting mirrors, arks with riddles, stories on mazes from different culture, rationale mazes, mazers where you are only allowed to turn left and other fun challenges for the entire family.

The zoo is adaptable to children with disabilities, groups and families. Note it may be quite crowded during the weekends and holidays.

The Springs Park – Time to Freshen Up

If you want to freshen up, just a short drive from Gan Guru you can find the Springs Park, where you can rent small electric cars to move around the park and its various water springs.

It is recommended to get to the southern part of the park, where the air is cooler and there are picnic tables and a nice spring pool, Ein Muda spring, where you can splash and see some fish through the clear water.

The entire visit takes about an hour and a half, driving the electric car, or you can take a walk by foot or rent a bike.

Schwartzman Dairy factory – The Best Knafe in the North

You can end your day with a light dinner at Schwartzman’s dairy factory.  This is a small, pleasant place at Moshav Bat Shlomo, located in an old building, exhibiting old working tools from the pioneering period.

We highly recommend you try the homemade Geode cheese and the Tom cheese, their delicious and unique Knafe made of Goat cheese and Halva, the tasty Malabi with Carob Honey and other good stuff included in their classic breakfast.

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