If you live in one of those areas which Pikud HaOref classifies as “normal” but still have red alerts, you are caught between staying home and going stir crazy or attempting to salvage the summer vacation somehow…somewhere…without blowing the entire budget for a tzimmer in the Galil. Here are some ideas for indoor activities for you and/or the kids. Confirm each facility’s availability, make sure you know where the merchav mugan is and read any additional instructions when you get there. For example, the “Kesem BaSafari” night safari web site notifies the public that the site is open but that (1) there is NO murchav mugan and (2) it is absolutely forbidden to leave your car in the African area! (unless you want to be eaten by lions) They do allow you to exchange your tickets for another date.
(1) Ikea sale- Going on now until 20 July 2014. With three stores in Netanya, Rishon L’zion, and Kiryat Ata, you can stay in the mercaz or go North. You don’t need to go to buy something, although I am sure you can find an essential knickknack or two. You can let the kids run in the building, go to the ball pit, or participate in the activities scheduled for kids. Pick up a cheap and tasty meal and your day is complete.
(2) Tnuva visitor center in Alon Tavor- The famous visitor center has opened its door for no cost to residents from Gush Dan and further south! Must show proof of residence. Order your free tickets on their Facebook page. Children 5 years old and older are welcome. For more information about the visitor center go to Tnuva’s web site.
(3) Restaurants- Restaurants know that if they want to attract the parents over the summer, they have to attract the kids as well. Max Brenner has traditional kids meals such as shnitzel as well as with pasta with chocolate sauce (!), magic powder and jungle bananas, all served with crayons and a coloring box about Max the Chocolate King. Cafe Greg has both a meat and vegan menu for kids and also gives out a placemat to color on with crayons. Placemats and crayons are also available at Mandarin, Fresh Kitchen, and Cafe Landwer. The Cafe Greg restaurants in the Givatayim Mall, (kosher lemehadrin), Haifa Mall, Orot Mall in Or Akiva and Mercaz Big in Karmiel (all not kosher) have a large area built especially for kids to run around in and play while the parents enjoy their meal.
BBB- Burgus Burger Bar (not kosher) has a special kids meal as well as lots of games and activities on the electronic system at each table.
Source: Yisrael HaYom
Restaurants can be very expensive, however, so look for discount coupons in places like Leumi Card, Visa CAL, GROUPON, and eLuna. For example, right now there is a 10% off coupon for Fresh Kitchen Jerusalem on eLuna and you can get a free Cafe Greg ice cafe for 195 point from American Express Rewards. Deals come and go fast so it pays to look frequently.
(4) Cinema City- If you are already eating, you might as well see a movie as well. If you spend 49 shekels on a meal Friday, you get a free movie ticket (participating movies only). There are other free live shows to check out. Call 1-700-70-22-55 for more information and check out my previous post for deep discounts on Cinema City movie tickets.
(5) Museums- air conditioning, educational and inside- what more could you want? OK, less crowds. Some museum deals include: Lifestyle members can purchase combo tickets to the Museum Eretz Yisrael in Tel Aviv for 39 shekels (child) or 49 shekels (adult). The ticket includes entrance to the museum, the kite show and the planetarium! Valid only 24 July 2014. On 26 Aug 2014, Lifestyle members can go to the kite festival and “Song of the Bamboo” at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for 42 shekels (adult)- kids are free! To order tickets, click here. With the “Kids Love Israel” card, you can get discounts on the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem and MadaTech in Haifa. Kinderland has a coupon for the new science museum in Beersheva. For the most comprehensive English list of every museum in Israel, click here.
(6) Bowling- Since it is generally on the ground floor and deep within a building, a bowling alley can serve as a merchav mugan if needed. If you have a Leumi card, you can get 1+1 bowling tickets from their web site. Bowling Chutzot HaMifratz in Haifa has coupons on their web site.
(7) Factory tours- Michal Negrin factory- a treat for all fashionistas. You can get a 1+1 coupon on Kinderland. For more information, go to the Michal Negrin web site. The Coca Cola “center for the senses” is only 20 shekels and you can arrange a tour in English. For more information go to their web site. The Bamba visitor center is considered to be one of Israel’s best- and free! To make an appointment, go to their web site.
(8) Animix- The annual animation festival, trade show and workshops will be held in Tel Aviv 6-9 August 2014. Isracard members get 1+1 tickets on their web site. For more information about the festival, click here or go to the Cinemateque web site.
(9) Gymboree/arcade- You can find some coupons for arcades on the Kinderland web site. On the Ligdol web site you can find coupons for gymborees (here and here for example)
(10) Bank of Israel- One of Israel’s best kept secrets, the Bank of Israel offers a free tour of their center where you learn the basics of economics, see a display of ancient Israeli coins, and play computer games where the economic fate of the world is in your hands! You get a free bag of shredded money as a gift. Tours can be arranged in English. To make an appointment, go to their web site. The tour is appropriate for children ages 8 and older but the games are more appropriate for middle and high school children.
I hope this brief list has got your creative juices flowing. If you are looking to go somewhere specific and need a coupon, let me know I will do my best to find one for you!