Don’t Miss in Emek Bet Shean

Emek Bet Shean (or Emek Beit Shean) has a few special spots that are well worth visiting, since they are so close together.

Emek Bet Shean can be incredibly hot during the summer. So keep your shade on and drink plenty of fluids while you’re enjoying the day. Two of these sites are water paradises, which you can find later in this article.

Gangaroo (or Gan-Garoo) – It sounds like “kangaroo” and means (it’s a wordplay in Hebrew) the Kangaroo Park. As the name suggests, it is a zoo that houses Australian marsupial wildlife such as free-range kangaroos and Israel’s only koala amid Australian vegetation. Visitors, particularly kids, will love this “little Australia”, where they can freely touch and pet kangaroos. The aviary is also a hit – visitors will get to feed morsels of fruits to vividly colorful lorikeets and cockatiels. 

An amazing park dedicated primarily to kangaroos, but, more broadly antipodean animals. The park, which launched in 1996, also features other animals such as cassowaries, flying foxes, and emus.

Sachne – Gan HaShlosha – Sharing a common entrance (and entrance ticket) with Gangaroo is Sachne National Park. It is no less interesting, but, a completely different experience as it has beautiful pools and streams. The waters are naturally warm which makes it great for swimming. The spring water that flows from the western part of the park maintains a temperature of 28 degrees Celsius all year-round.

Nahal HaKibbutzim – An alternative to Sachne (if you are looking for a refreshing dip) is Nahal HaKibbutzim, a water hike about five to ten minutes drive away. Here you can swim in a stream in the fields. Try sliding under the massive concrete tubes under roadways — the kids (and kids at heart) will love it! Nahal HaKibbutzim is perfect for families with children because the water is relatively shallow (it just reaches no higher than an average full-grown adult’s chest). It is a popular destination for those who want to escape the summer heat.

Belvoir or Kochav HaYarden – A massive and impressive Crusader castle perched high above the Jordan valley. Its very location provides pure strategic control of the area as well as stunning vistas of the valley. Construction of the fortress began in 1168 and it is considered the best-preserved Crusader-era fortress in the country. You can also see a sculpture park near the fortress which displays works by artist Yigal Tomarkin.

You can do a lot more sightseeing as Bet Shean is home to more well-preserved ancient ruin. They include a 2nd-century Roman theater (which can seat 6,000 spectators) and Tell el-Husn, an ancient town built on a man-made hill (tell) which has the remains of both Roman and Byzantine structures. Tell el-Husn has become one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel.

Bet Alfa (or Beit Alfa)

Bet Alfa (or Beit Alfa) is a kibbutz founded by Polish immigrants in 1922. It is home to an incredible mosaic floor telling the story of Isaac. During an irrigation project in 1928, an ancient mosaic was dug up on the grounds of the kibbutz Hefzibah. The mosaic floor is one of the ruins of an ancient synagogue, which is known today as the Beit Alfa synagogue.

It is located on Road 996 and is usually accessed by the 412 bus. See Bet Alfa 

See also Nature Reserves