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5 Things To Do In HaYarkon Park | Off the Beaten Track
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5 Things To Do In HaYarkon Park | Off the Beaten Track

Picture of Sydney Dratel
Updated: 9 February 2017
Many people go to Tel Aviv’s expansive HaYarkon Park to run, cycle or have a picnic, but there are many other things to do as well. Whether you visit the park on a quiet workday or a busy Shabbat when the park is filled with families, it is always easy to find something enriching to do or see.
Afternoon in the park | © Sydney Dratel 2015
Afternoon in the park | © Sydney Dratel 2015
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Animal-Watch

A large variety of animals live within the park’s 3.5 square kilometers, either within their natural habitat or within the park’s attractions. One of the best attractions within the park is the Tsapari, a 7.5-acre bird park, which is the biggest of its kind in the Middle East. In the Tsapari, you will find reptiles, birds and feeding and petting rooms. If you do not have enough time to explore the Tsapari, you can instead see a large variety of animals (including emus and ibexes) free of charge along the Bavli promenade, closer to the city center, or just appreciate the birds, dogs and cats that live in the park.

HaYarkon Lake | © Sydney Dratel 2015
HaYarkon Lake | © Sydney Dratel 2015

Rent a Boat at HaYarkon Lake

If you venture further into the park’s eastern expanse, you will stumble upon the large HaYarkon Lake, where you can rent a number of different boats. The lake has a beautiful view, not only of the trees and fields surrounding the water, but also of the high-rise buildings surrounding the park itself. Choose from single-person kayaks, canoes, or even paddleboats shaped like racecars, and make your way out onto the water. Rent a kayak for a solitary trip, or bring along some friends and make it a social afternoon out on the water.

Art under the Ayalon Highway overpass | © Sydney Dratel 2015
Art under the Ayalon Highway overpass | © Sydney Dratel 2015

Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Art

Although most people go to HaYarkon Park to experience nature or exercise, there are also hidden cultural gems throughout the grounds. Walking through the park, keep your eyes open to the various sculptures and street art to be discovered. A great example of this hidden art is illustrated through the upright cats painted on the columns underneath the Ayalon Highway overpass. These painted cats are quite striking both in their figuration and their reflection in the river that flows beneath them. In addition to these cats and the various street art to be discovered, there are a number of both figural and abstract sculptures peppered throughout the park that engage nicely with their natural surroundings.

A side view of the HaYarkon Rock Garden | © Sydney Dratel 2015
A side view of the HaYarkon Rock Garden | © Sydney Dratel 2015
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Check Out the Rock and Cactus Garden

In the heart of the eastern expanse of the park, there are gardens that exhibit beautiful rock formations and plants that are native to Israel. These large gardens are casual, open and peaceful but are also very visually stimulating, and exploring them can teach you quite a bit about the natural composition of Israel. The rock garden (Gan HaSlaim) contains numerous examples of Israeli limestone and granite, while the smaller cactus garden (Gan HaKaktusim) contains over 3,500 species of native plants. After learning about the natural beauty inherent to Israel, take a walk to the southwestern region of the enclosure and enjoy the view of the HaYarkon Lake.

The perfect reading spot | © Sydney Dratel 2015
The perfect reading spot | © Sydney Dratel 2015

Relax with a Book

Grab your favorite book and find a bench along the river to have a peaceful, quiet time. There are many benches inside the southern area of the park between Ibn Gabirol and Weizmann streets, so it is easy to relax and read in peace without venturing too far away from central Tel Aviv. As you read, enjoy watching the rowers and paddle-boaters pass by, or listening to the birds singing in the trees above. It is especially beautiful in this part of the park near sunset, when the colors of the sky and water are constantly changing.