Hot, hot, hot. Too hot to hike or do anything outside in the sun. So we begin to look at the long list of places to go that we have compiled, Donna, Sima and Sami (by phone) start what seems at first an easy task - find a kid-friendly, relatively cool for the day. First call is to Shvil Tapuzim near Hadera, highly recommended by several different people. It has "activities for the family including mini-golf, go-karting, adventure playground, pool, art workshop, trampoline" - it sounds perfect. But when we call ahead (the equivalent of a pilot trip), what do we find? It is only open on Shabbat. Next try is Emek Kefer Playtime. Again, attractions for the entire family - again, only open on Shabbat. So then Sami suggests we try out Beit Khamotai near Givat Brenner - they used to go there when they lived in Meskeret Batya and it is open all the time. We get there (an hours drive from Netanya due to taking the not-so-scenic route through Tel Aviv) and it is only open to groups and on Shabbat. Noting a theme, we give up for the moment and go into Mekeret Batya. The country there is beautiful and like nowhere we have been yet in Israel. The green rolling hills and farmlands look almost like the US, nothing like the desert hills of Modi'in which are not so far away. After driving by the Agam's old house, we stop at the old town well for a picnic. All of the gears and wheels are still attached to the well and it is functional. A tour group is also there and as a few men push a horizontal wooden beam in a circle it turns a vertical pole which terms various gears, and voila! The buckets are pulled up out of the well and into the roof above and then back down again. It really was cool. And the entire area was covered with bushes blooming beautiful pinks and reds. It was a lively spot for our noodles and plums, and it was really nice to see the town that we had heard so much about over the years.
After the brief respite, we hunt again for an activity. Sami has called ahead to Kibbutz Tsova, which has a family-themed park that is ...... actually open! To us! It has big inflatable jumping things, bumper cars, a train, all kinds of climbing structures, and more. The kids are off and running. As we walk in the door a madrich calls Tamar and there is Tamar Gerson! It is a small country. So the kids jumped and ran around and rode bumper cars until Noah has 4 blisters on his fingers from steering and Eitan's feet and legs are completely black (from what, I don't know). And then we said our said goodbyes and headed back to Netanya.
Once back we met up with Elianna and Shani, the 2 new St. Louis Sherut Leumi girls. We had dinnner and good conversation with them. Sami made some phone calls and found a water park that is closed the 25th and 27th but open the 28th and is not far from Netanya. So, hopefully, we have a plan for tomorrow.