The Yarkon Park (Ganei Yehoshua) is a huge stretch of greenery in the center of Tel Aviv. The park runs from Tel Aviv port all the way passed the National Stadium in Ramat Gan and on to Bnei Brak. Rokach Boulevard is on the northern side of the park and Bavli on the southern side. Running through the park is the Yarkon River which meanders down to the sea where it pours out in to the Mediterranean at Tel Aviv Port. The park has expansive lawns where you can play, picnic and suntan but if you want to do something a little more active here are the top attractions to keep you busy in the Yarkon Park.
1. Rent a Bike
Throughout the park are bike rental stands which are part of a municipal service called Tel-O-Fun. Using your credit card you can rent a bike and ride along the 5km (3.5 miles) of paths in the park. The bikes cost an initial access fee of 17ILs on weekdays or 23ILS on weekends and holidays plus an additional amount for each hour you ride. The first 30 minutes of bike rental are free, up to an hour is 6ILS, u to 90 minutes is 12ILS, up to 2.5 hours is 32ILS etc. If you want you can continue riding into the city where you can return the bike at one of the other bike stations in the city without going all the way back to the park. If you want something a little easier there is “Easy” golf cart rental. Rent a golf cart or go-cart buggy in the park. The service is offered from 10am until dark and is for those over 3 years old. Rent an Easy golf cart or go-cart from Rokach Blvd. in front of the Exhibition Center. A golf cart will cost you 90ILS for 30 min or 150 for an hour and can hold up to 4 passengers. A go-cart (buggy) costs 40ILS for 30min or 70ILS for an hour. The same rental company offers tandem bikes and bicycles.
2. Rent a Boat
You can rent a small motor boat (120ILS for 30min/200ILS for an hour), row boat or pedal boat (70ILS for 30min/80ILS for an hour) and travel up and down the Yarkon River. The row boats require one passenger to be over 14 years old and can hold up to 5 adults and 1 child (up to 8 years old). The motor boats require one passenger to be over 21 years old and can hold up to 5 passengers and 1 child. The pedal boats require one passenger to be over 14 years old and can hold up to 4 adults and 1 child. The boat rental stations are near Ebn Gvirol Bridge (year round) and next to Haifa Road Bridge (only in the summer and on school holidays). The boat rental operates 9am to 9pm daily.
The Tsipari (bird safari) is located on the east side of Park HaYarkon. It is set in lush gardens with a beautiful mini-lake where swans and ducks swim; it is the largest bird park in the Middle East. At the bird park you can see shows where the birds are presented to the visitors. There is a small petting zoo, a corner devoted to reptiles and a place where you can see bird’s eggs in incubators. This is a bird sanctuary which has been designed with kids in mind. In addition to the many animals and birds the park has play areas, eateries and a large enclosed soft play area with climbing apparatus and trampoline-type games. Entrance is 60ILS and the park is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and school holidays (which includes all of July and August).
Kids will love running around on the open lawns of the park and in among the tall trees as well as playing in the playgrounds which are spread out at intervals throughout the park. The playgrounds near the Bavli neighborhood are the most popular.
5. Explore the Gardens
Explore the six gardens of the park – Garden of the Fallen Soldier (Gan HaBanim); Memorial Garden for Victims of Terror (Gan Nifga’ei HaTeror); Rock Garden (Gan HaSlaim); the Cactus Garden (Gan HaKaktusim); the Trimmed Garden (Gan HaGazim) and the Tropical Garden (Gan Ha Tropi). The Rock Garden is one of the largest in the world covering 10 acres. You can walk along a wooden walkway through the Tropical Garden and reach a small lake with swans.
You won’t find many mini-golf parks in Israel but the Yarkon Park has one tucked away on the northern bank of the river near Ibn Gvirol Bridge on Rokach Blvd. A game of mini-golf will cost you about 40ILS.
7. Seven Flour Mills (Sheva HaTachanot)
This is one of five ancient sites in the park; it straddled the river at the narrowest point and was once a flour mill operated by the power of the water flow. Today the mill is a heritage site which has been restored and can be visited by the public.
This area of the park is devoted to sport; it is located at the north-western end of the park on Rokach Blvd. The park includes a 13.7 meter (45 foot) high climbing wall run by “Olympus”, which operates Sundays to Thursdays 5pm-10pm, Fridays and holiday eves 2pm-8pm and Saturdays and school holidays 11am-10pm. Anyone over 5 years old can climb the wall. You can rent climbing shoes for 14ILS and a climb will cost you 30ILS for 1 climb, 48ILS for 2 climbs and 58ILS for a day pass on the wall. If you want 1 wall climb, a go on the large trampoline and a bungee jump it will cost you 66ILS. There are trampolines, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball grounds, soccer fields and a skating area with skateboard ramps. You can rent balls and rollerblades at the Sportek. The Sportek is open From Sunday to Thursday 9am-10:30pm, Fridays 2pm-8pm and Saturdays 10am-9pm.
9. Meymadion Water Park
One of Israel’s largest water parks is conveniently located in the park. It has expansive lawns, sun chairs, slides, a lazy river ride, a large wave pool, regular swimming pools, a toddlers’ pool and numerous water slides. The park is closed during the cooler months (approximately October to April) and is open on select days the rest of the year. In July and August the park is open daily except when the park has been rented out for special events. Entrance is generally 115ILS but there are various special offers like 1+1 deals and discount entrance tickets after 1pm (95ILS). The park is open from 9am to 5pm.
10. Sail a Model Yacht
You can rent a model yacht which operates by remote control and take it out on the water on Yarkon Lake. The boats are not motorized but move with the wind while steered by remote control. Rent a boat for 30ILS for 30min or 50ILS for an hour. This activity operates Sunday to Thursday 2:30pm-7pm, Friday 1pm-7pm and Saturday 10:30am-7pm. You will find the rental station at Lake HaGolfitek east of Namur Bridge on the north bank of the river.