Post 257: Add these five technological travel destinations to your next itinerary if you’re interested in meeting the people who build globally important startups, formulate groundbreaking technologies and create agricultural miracles from Israel 21C

This post is for those of you who need a little push to get you over here from abroad. There are always new destinations in Israel.

First Science was taught in the classroom from books, then in the lab, then in the factory. Now it’s in energy parks, tours, science museums. When I visited Beit Avi Chai during Sukot I purchased a “science bag”, like take-out, complete with magnifying glass, mirror and tape-measure, to use at the exhibition for 5 sh.

So many institutes for the public to taste science and technology.

Add these five technological travel destinations to your next itinerary if you’re interested in meeting the people who build globally important startups, formulate groundbreaking technologies and create agricultural miracles.

1. TEL AVIV STARTUP TOURS-You can do these on your own; knocking on doors is the way to go.

The Tel Aviv Startup Tour raises the curtain on the city’s dynamic innovation. The group tour – led by a certified tour guide – takes visitors behind-the-scenes of the city’s brewing startup scene. It begins with a quick overview of how this first modern Hebrew city founded in 1909 went on to become a global city and one of the most important financial centers in the world.

Rothschild Boulevard – the street best known for its collection of Bauhaus buildings – is a focal point of the tour. The outside architecture of these UNESCO-designated buildings is not the only interesting feature along this central thoroughfare. Many of the city’s startups and sparkers of innovation are found inside, and the city has the key to let you in.

The tour also includes a visit to its municipal library, which serves as a co-working space for up-and-coming high-tech entrepreneurs; the Herz Lilienblum Museum of Banking and Tel Aviv Nostalgia; Independence Hall, where Israel was declared a state; and a startup company.

The Tel Aviv Startup Tour, which must be booked in advance, is one of 20 specialty paid tours offered by the municipality. The city also runs four free walking tours on different themes.
2. SALAD TRAIL

Israel’s tastiest tourist attraction is more than just a touch-and-taste farm. Agronomist Uri Alon, the founder of this educational farm in the Hevel Habesor region of the northern Negev, encourages visitors to get a firsthand feel for Israeli agriculture technologies in use.
This is the place to see, touch, taste and learn about Israeli water and agriculture technologies helping Alon and other farmers succeed in growing 80 different crops in the desert.The salad trail – Israel’s tastiest tourist attraction

The Salad Trail in the Negev encourages visitors to get a feel for the land and its produce.

By Viva Sarah Press APRIL 9, 2015, 6:00 Israel 21C

Can you name 15 varieties of cherry tomatoes? What about four types of carrots? Have you ever tasted an Uri Kaduri orange? And do you know the difference between the seven varieties of mint leaves?

A three-hour visit to the Salad Trail, a unique touch-and-taste farm in the Hevel Habesor region of the northern Negev, will turn you into an expert grower for the day.

Pick-your-own produce farms are commonplace. But agronomist Uri Alon has upped the ante with his complete senses-and-learning experience at his farm in the northern Negev.

“If you want to see how the real vegetables grow, and taste the best vegetables in the world, that’s reason enough to come visit,” Alon, the brains behind this blossoming oasis in the middle of the sandy desert, tells ISRAEL21c.

“If you want to see the real Israel and see how you can take a desert and change it and make it bloom, it’s enough reason to drive 1.5 hours from Tel Aviv.”

Flying strawberries? The Salad Trail features two types. Flying strawberries? The Salad Trail features two types.
Alon, who grew up in Rehovot and always dreamed of being a farmer, started the Salad Trail 11 years ago and says it is unique in Israel for its range of produce and educational component.

“This is the only farm with a professional tour,” he says. “It’s not only about coming here to pick vegetables but also to understand how they grow, learn about the environment and understand the agricultural innovations and technologies.”

Each year, some 45,000 people – mostly tourists – make the trip out to Moshav Talmei Yosef, where his farm is located, to roam the fields, pick, touch, taste and learn about the crops they eat.

A blooming desert

Alon sees his mission as one with the well-known vision of Israel’s first prime minister.

“I came here to live 27 years ago because I followed Ben-Gurion’s dream, to make the Negev bloom,” says Alon, who first ran a commercial farm before converting it into an educational facility about 10 years ago.

The average amount of rain in the area is 80 millimeters annually. Alon highlights Israeli innovations including recycled water and irrigation technologies as key to his success in growing 80 different crops on his desert land.
At an innovation conference in Tel Aviv, one visitor has become an adviser in Israel and abroad to those seeking out farming knowledge on how to grow produce in difficult terrain without resorting to pesticides.

In greenhouses, orchards and fields, Alon grows 15 varieties of cherry tomatoes, seven varieties of mint, edible flowers, four colors of carrots, two types of chili, two types of flying strawberries, three types of cucumbers, three kinds of radishes, more than 30 herbs and a new strain of orange known as Uri Kaduri (similar to a kumquat), among other produce. (The Uri Kaduri is not named after the modern Hebrew comic-strip hero but rather for Alon’s first name.)

Tasty tour

Alon employs 15 professional guides to take visitors on the Salad Trail through his two-and-a-half-acre farm.

Visitors must reserve a spot in advance. Groups are divided up by age and language (Spanish, French, Russian, English, Dutch, Portuguese and Hebrew).

The tour gives a hands-on display of agricultural high-tech, a crash course in environmental techniques, a history and explanation of the fruits and veggies (for example, why some of the fruits grow upwards), an understanding of biopesticides and a chance to pick and sample the delectable-looking offerings.

After the learning comes the eating. After the learning comes the eating.
Herbs on the farm also include medicinal varieties and visitors are encouraged to touch and smell them.

Alon offers an optional “Chef of the Trail” (think Master Chef) competition where visitors use the produce on hand to create gastronomic masterpieces. “It’s amazing what people come up with,” he says.

Word-of-mouth has made his farm a popular tourism spot without any advertising. Birthright participants have had the Salad Trail on their itinerary since 2009.From corporate events to family tours, bar mitzvahs to school groups, individuals to senior citizens tour groups, Alon says the farm fascinates everyone.

The Salad Trail is much more than pick-your-own produce.
He repeatedly highlights the fact that after completing his professional tour-guiding course and announcing that he was going to change his farm from a commercial one to an education facility, everyone advised against it. He was told that attractions had to be on the way to something whereas his farmland is “in the middle of nowhere.”

But he believed that building an agricultural museum for city folks would be a success.

“I came here to fulfill Ben-Gurion’s dream of making the desert bloom,” he says, “and we turned the desert into a paradise.”

For more information, click here or send an e-mail to: salat4u@gmail.com

On the Salad Trail (Shvil Hasalat)
3. WEIZMANN INSTITUTE VISITORS CENTER

The world-renowned Weizmann Institute of Science regularly ranks high on global lists grading research institutes. You may have heard about the top-quality research going on within the Israeli public research university’s labs in Rehovot, but you may not know that you’re welcome to come inside for a tour.

The Weizmann’s Levinson Visitors Center presents interactive exhibits and a state-of-the-art multimedia experience. Tours of one to three hours are available in English and Hebrew and must be arranged in advance.

The Levinson Visitors Center at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Visitors can also explore the Weizmann House, the home of Israel’s first president, Dr. Chaim Weizmann; and the world’s only outdoor science museum, the Clore Garden of Science. Among the hands-on exhibits here are a solar furnace that sets wood on fire, water sprinklers that surround visitors with a full-circle rainbow, a moon-walking simulation, and a water channel that shows the physics of wave action. Audio guides in English and Hebrew are available at Weizmann House and the Clore Garden of Science.

4. ARAVA VIDOR CENTER

The Vidor Center is an interactive museum that introduces visitors to advanced agriculture – showing off the country’s best technological advances in growing produce no matter how little rainfall or how rocky the land.

Other innovations tied to the Arava include better biological pest-control methods, groundbreaking water solutions and aquaculture advances.

Tours run every hour from 9am, seven days a week, and cost ₪22-NIS 28 per person. The tour – which is English friendly and wheelchair accessible — includes a 3D film, a visit to local greenhouses, and time in the interactive museum.

5. SCIENCE MUSEUMS

Six of Israel’s 12 Nobel laureates won for their scientific breakthroughs. While having a one-on-one tea time with them is unlikely, visitors can take in a fun scientific day at one of the country’s science museums.

(1) Jerusalem’s Bloomfield Science Museum. is all about arousing curiosity with its interactive science and technology displays. If possible, time a visit with the annual Jerusalem Mini Makers Faire to see young Israeli “makers” transform common household items into new products with technology. This event mashes together creativity, technology and fun and is a highlight of the museum’s exhibits.
(2) MadaTech, Israel’s National Museum of Science, Technology and Space in Haifa, offers more than 20 interactive science and technology exhibitions that beseech visitors to touch, try and experience science up close.
(3) MadaTech’s outdoor Energy Park Hadera
The Technoda in Hadera has an interactive science museum, an outdoor scientific lab, a medical simulation unit and a stellar observatory.Everything is hands-on at Technoda in Hadera.
(4) The Carasso Science Park in Beersheva has an interactive museum, a scientific outdoor garden with hands-on activities, and an interactive fountain. The exhibits cover various fields of science including genetics, microelectronics, nuclear energy and communication. ‘Carasso Science Park’, is the largest science park in Israel.
The park offers ten interactive exhibitions in various fields of Science including: Genetics, Communication, Microelectronics, Nuclear Energy and more. In all, hundreds of technological and scientific games and exhibits. Spread over 4.25 acres, visitors can enjoy the massive outdoor sculptures and playground, interactive fountain and three gallery exhibits. The park features structures from three time periods – the Ottoman Empire, The British Mandate and a modern underground facility, creating a unique architectural harmony. You’re invited to come to the Gustave Leven Campus in the Old City of Be’er Sheva and take part in a scientific and cultural experience like no other.
The Carasso Science Park | 79 Ha’atzmaut St., Be’er Sheva is fronted by a vintage Turkish building.
(5) There’s also the aforementioned Clore Garden of Science in Rehovot that is best combined with a visit to the Weizmann Institute.

Keshet – The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel. Granted there are no photos in this post, but link to the individual science parks and institutions for the next museum day!

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