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West Jerusalem

Here's where you go to find the life of the modern city, full of cafes, shops, and museums, and probably where you’ll be staying, whether in a hotel or private residence. Of course, as you'd expect in a the capitol of Israel, there are many museums in modern Jerusalem. Pick a museum that appeals most to your kids, and plan to spend some time.
Model of Jerusalem
  The Israel Museum – As you'd expect from such an all-encompassing name, this museum has a lot to offer. This is Israel's largest cultural institution, with 500,000 objects in its permanent collections from pre-history to the present. Check out the Art Wing, Youth Wing, Judaica & Jewish Ethnography (kids will love the costumes), Archaeology, Shrine of the Book (including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and an Art Garden. Don't miss the scale replica of the Old City as it appeared in the first century BC. A one-stop wonder, this museum is an excellent introduction to all things Israeli and Jewish.
    Digital Sea Scrolls – In a new museum project, you can view the Dead Sea Scrolls online, including the Great Isaiah and War Scrolls. It's like looking back 2,000+ years in time.
      Educational tours start in the Youth Wing, geared to age groups from kindergarten through high school. The tour includes a hands-on art project in one of the Youth Wing workshops, and a show. Tip: Children (ages 5 - 17) are free on Tuesday and Saturday.
    Yad Vashem – This is really not one place but a collection of remembrances of the holocaust, including the Historical Museum with its photographs, artifacts, documents (and audiovisuals); the Art Museum with works of art created under the inconceivably adverse conditions of the Holocaust; other areas have tributes to Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg, a moving Children’s Memorial (an underground cavern listing names of some of the 1.5 million who died in the holocaust), the Garden of the Righteous (an honor given to non-Jews who act according to the most noble principles of humanity). Yad Vashem is closed on Saturday, and closes at 2pm on Friday.
    Mount Herzl – Mount Herzl is Israel’s National Memorial Park, similar to Arlington in the United States. The hill has a path that winds its way up to the top. On the lower slope are the graves of soldiers fallen in battle who requested to be buried in Jerusalem. Towards the top of the slope rests the great politicians and presidents of the State of Israel, such as Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Zalman Shazar, and Chaim Herzog. At the very top of Mount Herzl lies Theodore Herzl himself, the founder of Zionism.
    Biblical Zoo – Known as the Tisch Family Zoo, this park focuses on animals from the Bible now extinct, and other animals in the region that are currently endangered, such as desert foxes, wild horses and wild boar.
    Machane Yehuda – Easily accessible with Jerusalem’s Light Rail, this is Jerusalem’s famous market, boasting primarily food and groceries. There’s a stall where tahini is freshly ground from sesame by a giant stone mortar, and the market boasts some of the best Iraqi restaurants in the city. On a cold day, the Kubbeh soup (tangy soup with meat dumplings) is a particular treat.
    Old Train Station and Train Track Park – If kids are tired out from trekking through the Old City or wandering through West Jerusalem’s museums, be sure to check out the renovated, now defunct, Jaffa-Jerusalem train line tracks. Recently made into a park, the whole strip has become a walking plaza surrounded by trees in a residential neighborhood. Several cafes are located nearby if kids are thirsty or hungry and benches along the tracks to sit. If you’re lucky, there might be a few outdoor performances at the Old Train Station. There are often afternoon arts and crafts workshops for kids under 12 at the Old Train Station. Click here for more information.
    Armon HaNatziv (Haas Promenade) – This promenade has the most breathtaking view of the Old City and the Temple Mount. Looking up at the Old City from across its southern valley, you can imagine what it meant to “go up to Jerusalem” in the Biblical narrative.
    Time Travel Elevator For kids hungry for a little 4D stimulation, this attraction provides a brief history of Jerusalem in ride form.
    The Knesset – Israel’s parliament, is far more than just a government building. From the Palombo Gate, which gives one a sense of going through a tangle of history, passing by the beautifully carved Menorah and The Eternal Flame (a sculpture evoking the burning bush of Moses) the Knesset also serves as a monument to a people’s ability to persevere. While touring the parliamentary rooms, keep your eyes peeled for the wonderful collection of art, including mosaics and tapestries by Marc Chagall, as well as works by contemporary Israeli artists and archaeological art.
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