Safari in Tel Aviv?

16 Sep

Don’t mind if I do!  What a fantastic way to spend Day 3 of my Israel trip- immersed in a little (actually huge!) slice of Africa smack dab in the middle of the city!

The Zoological Safari of Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv) has recreated an African savannah in the Ramat Gan National Park. The largest zoo in the Middle East (and one of the largest in the world)  is home to more than 1,600 animals, representing over 200 species on a 250-acre park and hosts about half a million guests annually. Opened to the general public in 1974 as an African animal park, the zoo and garden segments were established in 1981 in the middle of the park to replace the former Tel Aviv Zoo, which had closed down.  The rest is an African safari in which several hundred animals live in conditions similar to their natural habitats. One of the unique aspects of the Safari is that a wide variety of species share the same area and can be seen interacting the way they would in the wild, roaming freely and (usually) harmoniously.  A two-lane road winds through the open land so you can literally be ‘one’ with the animals.The safari is known around the world for its outstanding breeding herds of both African and Asian elephants, gorilla and orangutan families, the hippo herd and the pride of lions.

Glad there's at least a picture of a lion so we know we're in the right place!

One of the park 'greeters...' Jeez!

These birds were so cool! You can see our window rolled down in the foreground, so you know he's close enough to touch! Can you see the submerged hippos in the lake? (Just their backs are visible near the lefthand side of the picture....)

Well, hello!

Parked and walking into the Zoo and Gardens...

Malva and Torlek, the elephants, have offspring 6 different continents...

We came to a small Petting Zoo- not the typical ‘spend a quarter for pellets to feed through the fence,’ but an actual ‘open the gate and go have a seat with the all the animals you want!”- and I was in Heaven!  Those of you who really know me know that I LOVE- as in, borderline fascination with!- goats and sheep, so this was PERFECT!  I’ll start with our favorite, who we clichely named, Billy 🙂

How could anyone not love that face?! And he was SO sweet!

Maddie just loved this sheep 🙂

Feeding lunch...

Tripp giving goodbye kisses...Awww... 🙂

Giraffes

A treat for all you South Carolinians...An exhibit dedicated to the 'exotic North American creature...the Raccoon.' Um, yeah.

This just made me miss John even more. The honey badger is his favorite animal of all time 🙂

Cheese!

Penguins, always a favorite! These are African Penguins, so they're cool with sand, not ice 🙂

After a quick popsicle stop, we made our way back to the car to continue on our African Safari- this time, armed with Cheetos! 🙂

Hello there...He is touching our window!

They love Chester Cheeto!

Awww, saying thank you 🙂

Artsy picture of the day...Isn't this just a neat pop of color in the middle of the desert?! Perfect shade spot...

Artsy shot #2 of the day 🙂

These things were CRAZY for Cheetos!

And a fabulous day was had by all 🙂

One Response to “Safari in Tel Aviv?”

  1. granmom September 17, 2010 at 9:47 PM #

    What a great day. Sam’s twins have gotten so big. You got a kiss enen if it wasn’t from John Love you!

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