A street scene through a Jerusalem neighborhood on the way to the zoo.
At long last we were able to visit the Jerusalem Zoo on our "goodbye to summer" overnighter in Jerusalem. I know many of you enjoy seeing photos of our adventures around Israel, so I thought I'd share the zoo with you too, as it's really quite special. My children refer to the zoo as "Tanachi" namely Biblical Zoo, as it was the zoo's original intention to focus on animals from the Tanach, when it first opened in another location many years ago. That concept however became too limiting, and so the zoo evolved into an institution for preservation of endangered species, a noble endeavor indeed!
Approaching the hillside location of the zoo.
Interestingly enough, many of the endangered species that the zoo serves to protect are mentioned in the Bible and are sadly now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian Lion, the Syrian Brown Bear, the cheetah, the Nile crocodile and the Persian fallow dear.
The zoo is located in a beautiful hilly neighborhood on the edge of Jerusalem, and so there are many gorgeous views to enjoy while meandering along the paths within the zoo.
A Syrian brown bear hangs out, providing the perfect photo opportunity!
The elephants are giant and can be viewed from a fairly close range. We learned that the elephants collectively lost about 500 kilos recently due to an exercise program in which they're taken on a walk around the zoo for 1 1/2 hours each morning before the zoo opens!
Gorgeous Adax, antelopes from Africa, viewed from an elevated boardwalk portion of the zoo. We wouldn't have minded resting as well, but fortunately the zoo has a number water fans along the path to the top, wherein a fan basically sprays a fine cool mist on those that stand in front of it. Especially helpful when visiting the zoo in the summer!
Zebra, giraffes, rhinos are also viewed from the elevated boardwalk. The view beyond certainly does look "biblical" don't you think?
So at the top of the hill, the Noah's ark visitor's center seems right in tune with the whole experience!
As you wonder back down the hill, there is a nice petting zoo and some fabulous mosaic climbing sculptures not to be missed, though we actually only viewed this one from afar as we had to get back home.
Last stop at the zoo, one of my favorites, the flamingos! Some of the birds were flapping their wings vigorously as a way of cooling off possibly, and we had the treat of seeing that the feathers on the underside of their wings are black, stunning!
And to end this post with more interesting info for those of you who feel like reading: As it turns out, the massive amount of fruits and vegetables consumed daily by the zoo's animals are acquired free of charge through an agreement that the zoo founder worked out with Israeli companies that tithe their produce in accordance with Jewish law! In the absence of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, tithes from produce may not be given to a Cohen or Levy, but they may be fed to their animals. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, like others in Israel, sold its animals to a Cohen so it could receive the free produce distributed through the local religious council.
And, one more very interesting fact, at least according to Wikepedia, is that during Passover, the entire zoo is made chametz-free; animals are fed matzo rather than bread products, and birds are fed rice. And that my friends makes this zoo truly unique!