I love how Israel is set up for children! In the US, we had very few parks in walking distance; the one we occasionally went to on Shabbos was almost a half hour walk from our house. More commonly, though, we’d drive to parks that were fifteen to forty minutes by car. It’s wonderful to now have so many inviting options close to home; we have a number of places we take the kids when they’re in the mood to get out – all within a ten minute walk of our home!
The closest playground is just a couple of buildings down our street. We found this the very first morning we got here, when I took the kids who woke up before 6 am for an exploratory walk. We didn’t get any further than this that morning.
This is great because it’s so close, quiet, and because my neighborhood is low density and most people have yards, there aren’t usually other kids there. The only downside is that the play area is filled with sand, which is lots of fun for the kids but I’m not always in the mood to bring everyone home and give them a bath.
The next option has become a favored one – it’s a three minute walk from us, the ground is springy artificial turf, and there’s so much to do that ds9 and dd10 enjoy going here with the littles and me. They can all play together here for a long time, and the set up lends itself to creative games of make believe (“Quick, before you get sucked up the chute!”). It’s well lit at night, and though it’s more populated than the one on my street, so far there haven’t been more than a seven or eight kids on the playground equipment when we’ve gotten there.
Here’s the park that ds12, ds4, and ds5 walk through each morning on their way to school. This is about a four minute walk from our home. Since it has sand in the play area, I usually choose to stick closer to home if I’m going to deal with the sand.
Then there’s the park in a slightly different direction that ds9 and dd10 pass through on their way to school. This one is about seven minutes away, which makes it the furthest of the close parks.
Dh or I pick up ds4 and ds5 from school, and on the way home we pass this lovely mini waterfall. The kids enjoy stopping here to look at the fish.
Our home is also just a few minutes from the huge and very popular Park Hamishpacha (Family Park) to which visitors to Karmiel come for a day of fun and have to pay 20 shekels entrance fee per person. For Karmielites, it’s free. They have a two story ball pit, outdoor bowling alley, miniature golf, maze, exercise machine area, and lots of playground equipment. I’ve been there a few times but each time it’s been so busy that I didn’t feel especially motivated to go back. Now that school is back in session, though, it should be much quieter, and I’m planning to go back soon. I enjoy parks that are quiet and not teeming with kids, particularly lots of older kids that intimidate the littles.
I decided that rather than me taking pictures, you can get a better idea of what this looks like from the online virtual tour that has 360 degree views of the park. It takes a few minutes to load but it’s worthwhile. To see the park, click on this, then click on the box on the bottom of the screen that says ‘children’. My kids enjoyed seeing this before we moved here; it gave them something concrete to look forward to.
Across from Park Hamishpacha is the huge Park Hagalil, about ten minutes walk from our home. This is where NBN hosted their summer event for Go North Olim, and where we visited our first night in Karmiel after being denied entrance to Park Hamishpacha (free entrance, to be accurate – we could have paid and gotten in) since our ID didn’t yet show us being Karmiel residents. We haven’t yet explored this park much, and it would take some time to do so since it’s so large. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s beautiful. There’s also a virtual tour of this park, available at the same site that I linked above – here it is again – and click the picture at the bottom that says Park Hagalil.
It’s so nice to be here!