Caesarea — Exploring Israel with Kids
One of the most amazing things about living in Jerusalem is living within spitting distance of thousands of years of history. Caesarea (pronounced Keh-sar-ee-ya) is an old Roman town on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. It’s about an hour North of Tel Aviv, and about 90 minutes from Jerusalem. On the first official day of my “staycation,” we loaded the kids into the car and headed to Caesarea bright and early, in hopes of avoiding Israel’s punishing mid-day sun.
Bertrand, and surprisingly, three-year-old Jasmine*, is into Art-with-a-capital-A, so we started the day by stopping in a couple of the art galleries clearly designed to separate tourists from their money. It almost worked, but happily for us, none of the credit card machines in the port were working. Bullet dodged (just kidding, sweetheart, we’ll go back and get those paintings).
Post-gallery, we watched a short film on the history of the port town. As one of my colleagues described it, “hokey, but worth 15 minutes of your time to situate you historically.” And then we headed into the park to dance on the ruins of the Roman Empire.
So to speak.
Caesarea provides ample opportunities for kids to run around and climb the ruins. While parts are fenced off or under active archeological excavation, the vast majority of the park is open for exploration.
Both Jasmine and Grace had a wonderful time climbing up stairs, through tunnels, and exploring every corner of the ruined city.
After we finished exploring the park, we set out a quick picnic lunch (how did we manage to not get any pictures?!) across from the columns pictured below.
(A quick aside to anyone who hates on Israeli customer service: the folks at Caesarea were great. Even though it wasn’t their job to do so, the lovely ladies running the pre-tour film worked incredibly hard to get us tickets, once they realized that we hadn’t paid, we wanted to pay, the credit card machines weren’t working, the ATM wasn’t working, and that we had no cash. They figured it out graciously, then personally walked us to the gate so that the gatekeeper would believe us when we said we’d paid.)
* Definitely a humble brag.