Israel Family Attractions - Petach Tikvah Gan Hai Zoo
The Petach Tikvah Zoo or Gan Hai is definitely not an obvious choice for family outings, for one thing it is difficult to find unless you are from the area. The small but fascinating zoo is tucked away in a residential street off of Katzanelson Street.
Once you enter Moshe Sharet Street you will see the Museum of Human Science and Environment ,opposite that is a convenient (free) parking lot at number 10 Sharet Street. Once you are parked take a stroll up what appears to be an entrance to a park but the path opens up to be much more. On your left is the entrance to the zoo and in front of you is a beautiful park with a stream running through it. At the top of the park on your right are two old Lebanese tanks which the kids can climb on and a little further up is a building with a number of museums. The museums are open at irregular hours but include art and history exhibits. This means that a trip to the zoo could actually be turned into a full day out with the Museums, the zoo and a picnic in the park (where there is also a playground).
The zoo itself is unique in that they have focused on birds, monkeys, farm animals and only a few other creatures. There is a free flying enclosed aviary which you can enter and stroll along the tree shaded paths as well as a large variety of parrots. The monkey enclosure is large and although there is a lot of metal between you and the primates there are alot of them to see. You virtually walk through the monkey cage on a raised enclosed bridge. Another endearing feature of this small zoo is the amount of foliage, the zoo grounds are almost over grown with shady trees and shrubs which fits in perfectly with the park just behind the zoo walls. There is also a large pond (small lake) with swans and flamingos and rare water birds enjoying the surroundings.
Admittedly you won't see the range of animals here that you would in the Ramat Gan Safari Zoo, there are no big cats or bears but there is one other unique feature here. After you've seen the animals take a peak in the zoo buildings and you will find a fascinating taxidermy display. Animals that are not on show live can be seen here stuffed! There is a wide range of animals here from hundreds of butterflies to crocodiles, lions, penguins and ibex. Also in the zoo buildings is a reptile room with a number of snakes and iguanas.
You won't find crowds here in fact you'll probably have it all to yourself and then afterwards there are the surrounding parks and museums to visit. If the kids are still not worn out then the nearby mall will do the trick. In all you can have a full day out here with the kids without spending a fortune.
The park is open from September to May from Sunday to Thursday at 9am to 4pm, Fridays from 9am to 1pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. During the months of June to August the zoo stays open until 7pm on week days. On Saturdays the zoo is open but tickets are not sold, you need to buy them in advance. Children aged 2-18 pay 15NIS and over 18s pay 20NIS. There is a discount for Petach Tikvah residents and groups of 20 people, it is also possible to hold birthday parties here. Details can be found on the Petach Tikvah website but unfortunately it is only in Hebrew.