While Jerusalem's religious and archaeological sights leave adult visitors awed, young children tend not to agree. Ruins and archaeological parks are exhausting for small feet, queues are boring, and hot weather can be a struggle. Luckily, there are many child-friendly sights to mix into a family itinerary.
- Tisch Zoological Gardens
A welcome break from archaeological sites and suitable for all ages. There's a special emphasis on species mentioned in the Bible, arranged around a pretty artificial lake.
- Ein Yael Living Museum
Interactive and hands-on biblical-themed activities.
- Gottesman Aquarium
The tunnel through the massive Mediterranean aquatic life tank will amaze.
- Western Wall Tunnels
The subterranean location will spark kids' imaginations even if the history fails to excite.
- First Station
Try the bouncy castle, ride on a scale model steam engine, bumper cars and trampoline at this dining and entertainment complex.
- Bloomfield Science Museum
Halls of mirrors and a host of science-themed games, with the suitable age groups flagged, plus a play area and snacks out back.
- Time Elevator
An interactive cinema experience for over-fives, with panoramic screens and special effects synchronised to the action of the film. Book in advance.
- City of David
Older kids can wade through spooky, water-filled Hezekiah’s Tunnel, where the water level is around 70cm.
- Israel Museum
Older children and teens may enjoy the Youth Wing, which brims with historic toys and work by child artists.
- Smart Tour
Discovering Jerusalem is a lot more fun on a Segway or electric bike, and this operator can lead guided cycling tours tailored for families.
Parks and playgrounds are strewn throughout Jerusalem, including water playgrounds. To let kids blow off some steam in hot weather, take them to Teddy Kollek Park across the street from the Jaffa Gate. If it’s hot, there’s a water play area. Older children can stroll the walkway lined with studios of calligraphers, sculptors, painters and photographers.
Other large parks are Liberty Bell Park, between Talbieh and the German Colony, and Sacher Park near the Supreme Court and Knesset just west of Rehavia. Keep in mind that many of Jerusalem's playgrounds don’t have a lot of shade, so lather on the sunscreen during the summer months.
Need to Know
- Pharmacies Easy to find, stocking over-the-counter medicines and baby food, nappies (diapers) and other essentials.
- Hotels Can usually provide cots, and high-end hotels offer babysitting services.
- Restaurants Many have kid-friendly menus, and foods such as pizza, pasta and burgers are common.
- Strollers The Old City's narrow lanes, stone stairs and uneven paving can be troublesome. Downtowns streets are generally more friendly.
- Online resources Check out www.funinjerusalem.com for advice, events and comprehensive activity listings.