You can reach the Ramat Gan Zoo from Tel Aviv in under half an hour, and it is a world apart! The first section of the zoo is an open “safari” area where visitors can drive through in their own cars, or in the zoo bus. Here there are animals roaming freely, as if in their natural habitat. Ostriches come up to your car window, and herds of zebras, gnus, or oryx could cross the road in front of you.
The safari section is quite short, but you’ll see a wide range of animals, and really get up close. Of course, you’re not allowed to feed them or open your window! Once you’ve gone through the safari section you reach a large car park and the entrance to the zoo area. The grounds are covered in lush gardens, with trees offering shade along the walking route through open-air animal enclosures that recreate the animals’ natural habitats. It can take 2-3 hours to walk through the zoo or you could rent a golf cart to get around.
The zoo has several playgrounds, a small man-made lake, and a restaurant. The last section is the lion enclosure, which you visit as you leave the zoo and make your way to the exit in your car or the safari vehicle. The lion enclosure is a recreated natural habitat, and visitors have a safari experience driving among the lions.
About the Ramat Gan Zoo
The zoo is spread across 250 acres (100 hectares) and is home to approximately 1,600 animals, the largest collection of animals in the Middle East. Among the zoo, creatures are elephants, giraffes, gorillas, hippopotami, penguins, crocodiles, polar bears, tigers, leopards, and a colorful flock of birds. In 1958 a kids’ petting zoo was opened in the National Park of Ramat Gan. A drive-thru African Animal Park was opened on the site in 1974, and in 1981 the zoo was created within the park to replace the Tel Aviv Zoo which had recently closed.
Today the zoo has over 700,000 visitors a year and works in collaboration with zoos in neighboring countries and beyond. The zoo is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They participate in international breeding programs for endangered species and various enrichment programs.
Special Happenings at the Ramat Gan Zoo
The zoo hosts special night safaris where you take a mini-train through the grounds, guided by one of the zoo employees. There are regular feeding times at the zoo and a large performance area where kids’ shows are presented during the Israeli school holidays. Visitors can also celebrate birthdays here, and take a private guided safari tour.
Visiting the Ramat Gan Zoo
The zoo is open daily, except for the Yom Kippur, Holocaust Day, and Israel Memorial Day. Sunday to Thursday and Saturday, entrance is from 9 am to 2:30 pm but you can stay until the zoo closes at 4:30 pm. On Fridays and holidays the park opens from 9 am to 2 pm, and you can stay until closing at 4 pm.
To visit Ramat Gan Zoo book a private tour of Tel Aviv.