Jerusalem is a city with a mixed population of religions, ages, cultures and religious levels. This is most obvious on a Saturday when most of the city officially shuts down for the day to honor the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) and yet you will still see cars driving, tourists visiting and families looking for fun ways to entertain their kids.
The cultural institutions and heritage sites in Jerusalem have worked hard to create a proactive plan to engage families to stay in Jerusalem on Saturdays and to encourage families from outside Jerusalem to come and visit on Shabbat.
Creating special cultural opportunities addresses the needs of local families and tourists, while retaining the unique atmosphere of Jerusalem.
We have put together a list of museums and attractions open on Shabbat and tried to give you a brief description of the special “children’s” programming available. It is up to each family individually to decide what is in the “spirit of Shabbat” for their family.
- Bible Lands Family Activity – 10:00am-2:00pm
- Special kids scavenger hunt “Lost in the Museum”
- Self guided tours with the “Mummy Kit”
- The Museum operates in a Shabbat mode with movies on loops and all automatic doors turned to manual
- Bloomfield Science Museum– 10:00am-4:00pm
- Musica Exhibit – experience music created by every day items
- Workshops – there is a full schedule of hands on workshops for kids
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Israel Museum – 10:00am-5:00pm
- “Happy Birthday” exhibit and workshops are open in the Youth Wing
- Tower of David – 9:00am-4:00pm (5:00pm (Aug)
- Daily tours in Hebrew and English
- The museum runs on Shabbat mode and tickets can be purchased in advance
Parks & Public Spaces
- Botanical Gardens –
- Biblical Zoo
- Come and visit the zoo and all of the animals on Shabbat
- First Station
- There are always activities going on at First Station. Just walk past to join the fun. There are also two restaurants open on Shabbat – Cafe Landwer and Adom for families looking for a place to eat.
- Gazelle Park
- Open to the public for FREE this is a natural haven in the center of the busy city. Walk down the walking paths and up to the riverbed to look for the Gazelles.
- Tzuba Family Hikes
- Every Saturday the Kibbutz Tzuba Hotel runs family hikes to see the Jerusalem Hills, natural springs and beautiful overlooks.
Theater – the following theaters are open on Shabbat with special programming for kids
- Beit Shmuel Hirsch Theater
- Cinemateque – hosts kids movies with special workshops
- Train Theater – puppet shows for kids and special neighborhood walking shows through Yemin Moshe.
Public transportation does not run on Shabbat. If you do not have a car and are looking for a way to get around contact Shabus, a cooperative transportation solution on Shabbat.
For additional activities at local parks and public spaces contact Yerushalem for details.