by Yael Adar
It is a beautifully landscaped park that features a variety of animals and plants, all of which are native to Australia. The four-acre park provides a taste of Australia's wildlife - right in Israel's Beit Shean Valley, (recently re-named Emek Ha'maayanot).
Gan Garoo has over seven types of kangaroos (a total of 45) and an assortment of cockatoo, flying foxes, laughing kookaburra, cassowary, wallaby, and emu to name a few. Over 38 types of eucalyptus trees and other plants grace the grounds.
The park was established with the help of a successive number of Australian ambassadors. Operated by Kibbutz Nir David (see related story Stockade and Tower) this park is adjacent to Gan Hashlosha (the Sahne) and it is a joy to both children and adults alike.
Kibbutz member Yehuda Gat started the project that is fully recognized by the Australian Wildlife Protection Authority. It took six years to get approval for this unique park. In addition to the assortment of Australian flora and fauna there is a large maze on the premises that provides added enjoyment for visitors.
Plans are underway to establish an Australian Educational Center here as well - but money has to be raised first. At the moment the park owns 5,000 books - all of which are sitting in storage until a benefactor is found.
Directions: Gan Garoo Park Australia-Israel is located at Kibbutz Nir David, off Route # 669 (just outside of the main entrance to Gan Hashlosha, near the gas station).
04/648-8060 06/648-6060 FAX
Visiting Hours: Sunday - Thursday 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM, Friday 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM.
Saturday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Entry fees apply.
* Note - On a return visit the park (in late summer) it didn't look quite as lush as did it in winter. Keep in mind that in this area of the country things will look quite different from season to season. However, if you are traveling with children the lack of green surroundings will no doubt not detract from the main attraction - kangaroos!