Utopia – Israel's Perfect Park

What better place for a daytrip than Utopia itself? Israel's Utopia Park is located in Kibbutz Bachan near Netanya.

Elana Eden,

What better place for a daytrip than Utopia itself? Israel's Utopia Park, located in Kibbutz Bachan near Netanya, reproduces a tropical rainforest environment to showcase orchids, carnivorous plants, other tropical plants, and wildlife.

Walking paths on multiple levels guide you through the serene tropical jungle.
Thousands of Orchids, the largest family of flowering plants, are in Utopia's rain forest.
Dozens of species of Orchids bloom during all seasons due to the constant tropical conditions.
A deep rich green surrounds the visitors on all sides.

But it's not just about plants. Utopia Park's 40,000 square meters include an indoor rain forest, an outdoor park and a Garden Center, each of which has a collection of unique wildlife and family attractions.

In addition to two mazes—a classical maze made of bushes and a tunnel maze— the outdoor park has a musical water fountain and a butterfly garden with a specially monitored environment. Children can also enjoy the playground or the petting area, which has sheep, goats, rabbits, and chickens.

In a large cage inside the rain forest, chickens and roosters roam freely and share a bench with visitors.
After petting the rooster a few times, relations improve tremendously.
A religious youth starting up with a chick.
Chairs and benches are available throughout the rain forest for a reststop.
Throughout the day, presentations are given in this area of the rain forest
Upon exiting the rain forest, one is greeted with a frog water fountain. To remove any doubt, a sign explains, "All water is recycled and used in the rain forest."

In Utopia’s indoor Orchid Park, orchids grow in a recreation of a rainforest, in addition to one of the largest collections of carnivorous plants. The entrance to the rainforest area is a large cave, and inside are waterfalls, fish pools, bridges. There is also a variety of wildlife and a large birdcage, which visitors can enter to walk among pheasants, parrots, peacocks, and other birds. The park has both covered and open sections and is open all year.

Utopia Park’s Garden Center is one of Israel’s largest nurseries, with orchids and other tropical plants. Aryeh, the park manager, notes that he had excellent relations with what was once Israel's largest nursery in Atzmona, Gush Katif.

"When the Disengagement closed down Atzmona's operation, we stepped in and purchased all of their remaining stock," he said.

A classical maze with low bushes for kids to get lost in while parents remain in site.
The entrance to the tunnel maze where you may spend more time than originally planned.
Inside the tunnel maze. Utopia management is expanding the maze to include a 2nd level of walking paths in tunnels.
The Butterfly Garden has thousands of butterflies.
The white dots on the leaves are eggs, stage 1 of becoming a butterfly. Look closely along the stem to see a well-camouflaged green larva (catapillar), stage 2.
A more colorful larva.
When the larva is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa (stage 3) many of which are seen hanging from the screen walls of the butterfly garden.

There is also a cafeteria and a shop with fertilizers, fish, and other garden products.

Individuals can drop in anytime, while groups are encouraged to make reservations. Groups can also participate in a “plant design workshop” on how to design a plant cocktail.

And the final product: a fully-grown butterfly.
An outdoor sitting area.
Goats grazing in Utopia park.
A musical fountain plays easy-listening tunes in the outdoor park. A wooden bridge close the water level enables visitors to feed the fish.
A nursery with a wide variety of house and garden plants awaits visitors at the entrance/exit of the park.

Prices, hours, directions, and more information can be found in English at www.english.utopiapark.co.il.

Photos by Baruch Gordon