• Kobi Tour Guide of Israel

Tour Guide on Tour: High Over Tel Aviv on the TLV Balloon

What do you do when as an Israel tour guide you are tasked with planning an outing in Israel for "people who have gone everywhere and seen everything?" Well - first of all, those people don't actually exist, since despite its size, there is so much to experience here - but I had as my touring crew for the day the closest thing to that: 9 other licensed Israeli tour guides. I quickly realized that I needed to think out of the box and my eyes turned towards the heavens. A quick prayer for ingenuity answered my call - I needed to leave the Land of Israel entirely - and head to the heavens. So I organized a tour for my fellow tour guides of Israel in which we took to the skies. We started our day on a balloon ride over Tel Aviv, got a special VIP visit to the planetarium in Netanya and after lunch even flew F-16 fighter jets [that will be a separate post]. Some thoughts about the balloon ride and the planetarium from the tour guide of Israel the other Israel tour guides call when they want to experience something awesome :)


The TLV Balloon: We all absolutely enjoyed this to no end. It was not a typical hot-air balloon ride - there was no hot-air that I could ascertain (and no fire for sure); we were actually tethered to the ground [we do have real hot-air balloon rides available in Israel though, no worries.] Since we weren't really moving (even the up and down you couldn't really feel), even our two "scared of heights" guides were totally fine aboard. It is a little costly - 80NIS (about $23/adult) - but it is a fantastic way to start a day tour of Tel Aviv (it's best at morning time). Since there is an incredible ropes park (SkyTown) just a few feet away, parents could easily send older kids there to play while they go up on the balloon ride (or send grandparents on the balloon ride while they watch younger kids).


Yarkon Park: Another option is just to make a day of it in Yarkon Park (where it is located) and the nearby Tel Aviv Port. Yarkon Park is the 3rd-largest urban park in the world (larger than Central Park). You can rent boats and paddleboats and head out onto the Yarkon Stream. Go running or biking (bikes for rent) along the river and the trails. Let off tons of energy at the climbing wall, trampoline center and the aforementioned ropes course. Play sports at the various fields and courts. Hit the fantastic playground by the port. Walk along the boardwalk and eat at one of the restaurants (perhaps get some chocolate at Max Brenner) or party in one of the clubs. There is enough to fill a day there, without a doubt.


Here are some photos and videos from the balloon ride as well as Yarkon Park and the Tel Aviv Port [planetarium info/photos below]:




Here are some great photos of Yarkon Park and the Tel Aviv Port:



Planetanya: This planetarium based in Netanya, in between Tel Aviv and Haifa, is much more than a planetarium. It boasts a small science park (a "learning playground") and a Japanese garden and traditional room (where classes and events can be held). They have a giant telescope to see the night sky and the entire complex can be open in the evenings as well. Of course they have the planetarium shows, a number of which they make on their own, including one set to the music of David Bowie. While it may not exactly measure up to a number of planetariums from home (and there are at least three large-scale science parks in Israel which dwarf this one), children will enjoy the site and could be a nice addition on rainy days, during a heat wave or for repeat visitors.

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