Header Photo Credit

*The stunning photo in the header of my blog is all thanks to Ron Shoshani. Visit his facebook page for more of his amazing photographs of Tel Aviv!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tel Aviv Park Darom: A Hidden Gem

Park Darom, also known as Manachem Begin Park
Some people lament the fact that The Yarkon Park which runs along the tiny Yarkon River is the only real Park in Tel Aviv.  Yes, Park HaYarkon is large and sprawling, yes it's great for cycling, and I definitely do enjoy all of the attractions there - but it just doesn't keep out the city like the great city parks do. You still hear the traffic, see the tall buildings tower over most of the trees and you definitely feel the "dinkiness" of it. Plus, its SO far from so much of the city!

Most visitors write this off to the fact that the city's entire western border of Tel Aviv is the beach- a public park in and of itself, making it unnecessary to ensure that the Yarkon Park is something truly spectacular. But what most people, even Tel Aviv residents, don't know is that there is another a large, grassy Tel Aviv park that is super-awesome- it's just not smack dab in the center. 

This is Park Darom (פארק דרום also known as Park Menachim Begin) and it is one of the hidden gems of Tel Aviv. The park is extremely well kempt, with the grass always mowed and watered, and the paths always safe and clean. In fact, the park even has its own website that you can check out here which showcases all of the activities, attractions and great things about the park. Don't worry, since the site is all in Hebrew I won't leave you hanging. Here are the awesome features in random order:

1) Huge Lake
There is a massive lake in the center of the park.  This is a shocker to anyone who knows Israel's relationship with water at all.  As it turns out, the lake is quite shallow, but it is still full of fish, and a nice, hefty layer of water.
See? The lake is quite large
2) Water Ski
The huge lake is home to a water-ski, wake-boarding arena for kids, teens and adults. On most warm weekends the line is long and the fun is unending. You get an hour worth of wake-boarding for 90 shekels with options for water-skiing too. Some skaters and surfers (especially beginners) use the park for weekly or monthly practice, and it makes a great activity for celebratory events as well.

3) Boating
If you don't like extreme sports, but you do enjoy gliding gently across the water, you might be more interested in their boating. You can rent a small old-school paddle boat, a sweet race-car-style paddle boat, a canue, or even a small boat specially designed for little kids for 55-65 shekels . Paddle around by yourself or with friends while feeding the ducks some stale pita bread.  

Photo Credit: Park Menachem Begin Photo Gallery

4) Carting & Bike Rentals
There is a carting park, which helps put on carting races several times a year.  The carting park is small, but cool, and the carts look like lots of fun for kids.  There are also bicycle rentals if you want to bike around the park with friends or family. 

Photo Credit: Park Menachem Begin  Photo Gallery
5) Petting Zoo
Now, I'm not really an animal lover, nor do I like the general smell of petting zoos, but I know it's an attraction and there is something cute, strange, bizarre and entertaining about a petting zoo with reindeer in Israel.  The zoo also cages-in ostriches, peacocks, chickens and roosters (hope I'm not leaving anything out!) 

6) Special Rentals: Celebratory Events
You can actually rent, specially, a wide variety of things including ponies, horses, inflatable amusement moonwalk-type stuff, small "trains" and more for your kid's birthday party at the Park.  I know, it sounds totally weird and crazy, but really, it's AWESOME.

Birthday Ponies!

7) Work-Out Areas
You've seen these all around Tel Aviv (since about two years ago when the municipality installed them all over the city) and they are in Park Darom too!  They are intended for adults to use to stay fit and to enhance their regular work out sessions. But, whadda you know, they have since been seen used mostly by kids who defy the large signs saying "For use by persons 14 years of age or older."  I don't mind either way, as long as they help me keep my abs like steel for free.

8) BBQ Stations
Looking for a great place to have a BBQ outdoors? Well look no further. Tel Aviv Park Darom is built for the BBQ. Sadly, I have no photos of this. But, with tables, nice soft grass, garbage cans and designated BBQ areas, you are well equipped.

You can kind of see the garbage cans and picnic tables in the background here.
Right there in the upper left-hand corner?
9) Public Restrooms
Accessible public restrooms. Yes, they are gross, but they are easy to get to and they make life so much easier when you are in the middle of a long run and desperately have to pee.  So, now, even though I don't have an iPhone, I  know that there is a place nearby where I can to relieve myself.

Photo Credit: SorryThatUserNameIsTaken Blog

10) Tons of Other Awesome Stuff
There are basketball courts, endless lengths of unused grassy-ness, trees, and even a nice stream that runs along the south-west side of the park. (I've actually been to rock concerts held on just along the river which were fun and intimate). So, if you haven't been to Park Darom, or if you are looking for a place to hang, ahve a bbq or take your family/friends to chill, head down south and check it out!

Operating Hours:
Open all day every day
Office Hours: 9am-10:30pm, Sun-Thurs, Fri: Open until two hours before the beginning of Shabbat, Sat: Closed
Phone: 03-7303471
Address: Birnit Street, Menachem Begin Park

הצג מפה גדולה יותר

More Details Here


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