A unique institution that is part zoo, part natural history museum, and part Torah education center. A hand-on, interactive tour that kids will (and adults) will love.
Location: 5 Ha-Tzaba Street, Beit Shemesh Phone: 073-213-1662
LoveLoveIsrael Community Recommendation:
“Had a fantastic time this morning at the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh. It is a shortish activity (approximately 2hrs) but fun and Interesting. We all really enjoyed. Pre-booking is required.“ - Martine
The Biblical Museum of Natural History, located in Beit Shemesh, Israel, is a unique institution that is part zoo, part natural history museum, and part Torah education center.
The museum now offers event such as bar and bat mitzvah, sheva brachot, birthday parties and more.
For Pesach and all Jewish holiday times it’s important that people book their tour as early as possible.
Tours are suitable for adults and children of all ages (recommended age 4 and up)
Hands on and interactive experience!
The museum showcases the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects of Scripture, as well as related zoological topics from the Talmud. The large species are exhibited as taxidermy specimens, while live exhibits are maintained for smaller species, and there are also a large number of biological artifacts of religious significance. Visits are conducted via guided tours, which include hands-on experiences! Through the exciting and interactive tour, visitors learn the identities and symbolism of the animals of Scripture, lessons in Jewish values, law and history, and the natural history of Biblical Israel.
We had a great time here! The whole museum is pretty small (but packs in a lot!) and is located in an Industrial street in Beit Shemesh. You should aim to get there before your allotted tour time as I was impressed at how they do their best to start tours on time. This also gives you and your children a chance to look around at the animals around the room.
Each tour is led by a guide and you can book tours in Hebrew and English. Our guide was animated and engaging and as he talked about the animals and creatures from the Tenach, he passed around different things for everyone to look at. This meant the younger kids had things to look out while he went into more details which were more suited for older children and adults.
We then watched a movie which was interesting and then the curtains on the left of the room were opened to reveal the rest of the museum. Rabbi Slifkin has written numerous books (available to purchase there) about animals in the Tenach, and the collection here shows many of the creatures that have been around since the Tenach days. There are verses around the room which talk bout the animals housed here at the museum.P1030193 As the guide talks about the creatures, there is a lot of hands-on action as they take out all sorts of animals, from mice, to hedgehogs, lizards and little snakes and huge snakes! The children were totally enthralled by being able to handle such amazing animals. There are also different types of Shofarot you can try out and look at.
I think the great thing about this place is that there is something for everyone. I think that it would be great to go as a group of adults to really get the most informative visit, because there was so much to learn, but for a family, the younger kids get to look at and play with the animals and the older children and adults can get a bit more out of it, read the verses (passukim) and understand what they referred to and the relevance to creatures of today.
After the official tour, there is a petting area in front of the museum. My children and our friends spent another hour there playing with guinea pigs, chickens, a huge tortoise and some smaller ones as well as a rabbit and others. We had to drag them out of there!