Outdoor The Israeli Experience Magazine

Four fun experiences in the Valley of Springs

It you are looking to have a fun experience with the kids, or with your friends, this is the time to go on a splashing and paddling trip in the greenest and wettest region in Israel
by: Israel Traveler   |   20.03.2011

Tourism, just like anything else, is a lot of the time an issue of branding. The cities’ leaders and various tourist associations have realized that a long time ago. Thus Tel Aviv turned into "a city without interruption”, the Hebrew version of "the city that never sleeps”, Holon became one day the "Kids city” and every place featuring a green hill or two and a vineyard declared itself the Israeli Tuscany or Provence. And to tell the truth, Rebranding works. This fact was not missed by the Beit She'an Valley Regional Council, which decided a few years ago to do something about it. The old, hot, sweaty and poor name of Beit She'an Valley was sent to early retirement and replaced by the new wet, cool and sexy name of the Valley of Springs. But the name was not the only thing that changed here. In recent years millions of dollars have been put into the development of this area in order to advance tourism here and make the most of its touristic potential. And it does have that in abundance. The area has old and famous attractions such as the Gan HaShlosha National Park and the Beit She'an antiquities, but recently the emphasis was put on the development of new and additional attractions which make it possible for this place to offer an even wider selection of fun activities.

The green experience: The Park of Springs

The main attraction here is The Park of Springs which opened at the end of 2010. The park connects between three springs- Ein Shokek, Ein Moda and the Kibbutzim stream. This place offers a wealth of springs, streams, fish ponds and water channels. The area has beautiful views of rich natural vegetation, many agricultural lands, historical and archeological sites, while above them all stands the green Mount Gilboa. Green is also the name of the game in this new park. Following many years in which the area suffered from irresponsible tourism which caused the pollution of the water and banks, fires and environmental hazards, an emphasis was put on being environment friendly and maintaining the landscape values. So today the entrance is still free but one cannot enter in a vehicle. One can walk between the beautiful pools in the area, get in the water or stop for a picnic in the shaded groves and return with the shuttle which passes by. One can also rent bicycle or an environment friendly electric vehicle from the near by "Nir David Experiences” (see below).

The wet experience: Gan HaShlosha National Park (the Sahne)

Well, whoever is looking for a quiet corner with the only exception of the cheerful sound of water trickling, will probably not find it here in this park on the weekends or during holidays. But try to get here in the middle of the week or in winter- or better yet in the middle of the week in winter- and you will not believe it is the same hectic grill smoky, noisy and packed place. When it is quiet here, all of a sudden one can see the beautiful pools, the flowing cascades and the vast lawns and really appreciate the beauty of this place (and that’s without mentioning that this place was selected by Time Magazine as one of the world's 20 most beautiful parks). In winter, when it is cold outside, and the water’s temperature is warm –28 C (85 F) all year long- dipping in the beautiful turquoise pools of Gan Hashlosha is even a more special and pleasant experience. It is worth having your lunch at the Muse restaurant which is located at an excellent strategic location facing the view of the park.

The sportive experience: Nir David Experiences

As one of the first "Wall and Tower” settlements (a method used by Zionist settlers when the establishment of new settlements was restricted by the British Mandate authorities and the assembling of a guard tower with a fence around it over night meant that as an existing settlement it could not be dismantled according to the law of the time) the kibbutz members of Nir David (then Tel Amal) had the right idea of where to build their Wall and Tower. As one of the first, it is only natural that they chose the best location in the valley. The kibbutz, sitting on the banks of the Asi River, is a great tourist and vacation business today and it offers a variety of attractions. The best known one is the Australian zoo, "Gan-Guroo", in which one can see kangaroos, koalas and other marsupial wildlife from the faraway continent. The Asi River flowing near the kibbutz is a well-utilized tourist attraction- from the zimmers, or vacation units, built on its banks to the "Asi-si” center for sport activities, which holds group days that include many fun activities such as kayak-basketball (yes, there is such a thing!), building rafts and more. Another attraction one can find only here is riding a "bar-cycle”, a sort of bicycle for 17 people who paddle a huge beer-bar. The ride goes through the pools and fields of the green Valley of Springs, while along the ride the paddlers enjoy an experience in nature soaked in a lot of alcohol and a great mood.

The historical experience: the Beit She'an antiquities

Beit She'an National Park is one of the most impressive archeological sites in Israel. The site includes the ancient mound of Beit She'an and the remains of the city, such as the Roman Bathhouse, the Colonnade Street and of course the magnificent Roman Theater surprisingly well preserved. In the evenings, the acclaimed "She’an Nights” unique audio-visual presentation brings the city back to life and bestows a special atmosphere on the whole tour.

 

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