The campus of the Open University is an architectural masterpiece. It was conceived by the renowned Israeli architect Ada Carmi-Melamed, and inaugurated in 2004. It is well worth visiting.
The basic architectural elements of the campus are a paved street which starts at the highest point of the site and courses down into the main plaza; and a green valley leading from the plaza to an amphitheater further down. There are three main buildings, and many interesting spaces in them and around them.
The Open University campus is located in the north-eastern edge of Raanana, with a highway on one side and a residential neighborhood on the other side. Once within the campus walls, though, you feel you have entered a separate world, inspiring and full of treasures...
The campus has an excellent book store ("Lamda"). There are many cultural events, including lectures, symposia, concerts and exhibitions.
Israel, with a constant water shortage, cannot boast many lakes in its municipal parks.
The Raanana Park is lucky to have an artificial lake, and of course immediately upon its completion it became a focal point of attention and activity.
You can simply sit on a bench on lie down on the lawn and absorb the view; or look at the swans while listening to a recording of "Swan Lake" (press a button on the pedestrian bridge over the lake). The lakeside cafe is always bustling with life (see Restaurant tip), and the lakeside gallery is another attraction (see separate Things to Do tip).
A small motorboat goes round the lake (it is actually far too small for a motorboat trip, but children enjoy it nonetheless); for romantic couples there is a gondola and a gondoliere for rent.
Whatever you choose to do, the Raanana Lake deserves a visit.
The municipal park of Raanana has rightfully earned a reputation in the whole Sharon Valley region. It is large and spacious (in Israeli terms), diverse, clean and well maintained.
Families, couples and groups and friends have a picnic on the lawns or rest in the shade under the trees; children have several playgrounds and an adventure park to choose from; there is also a miniature zoo with approximately 100 animals; children with disabilities have a specially designed playground suited to their special needs; young couples with babies in trolleys stroll along the main avenue; youngsters play soccer or volleyball in the sports grounds.
One of the focal points of the park is the artificial lake (see separate tip) with its gallery and lakeside cafe.
Parts of the park have been allocated to the "Garden of the Seven Kinds" (seven Biblical plant and fruit species of Israel) and to a garden of herbs and spices.
A bit of culture in the Raanana Park:
A round pavilion with glass walls houses the "Gallery on the Lake " ("Al Ha-Agam").
The exhibitions are varied and interesting, and change once or twice a month. Painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts: all of these have their place in the gallery.
When we do our walk around the park we like to make a stop in the gallery. It's always a stimulating break. The last exhibition we saw was dedicated to paintings of dancers; a previous show had the theme of modern decorative art inspired by Chinese philosophy.
I forgot to mention one more thing: it's free!
The Music and Arts Center is home to the Raanana Symphonet Orchestra, which provides an interesting and varied concert program every year.
Many other concerts and shows are also held in this hall, and there are always temporary exhibitions in the foyer.
It's a medium-size hall with a warm and cosy atmosphere.
When in Raanana, check what's on!
Gadi Notes was a very gifted young man who was killed in the mysterious TWA plane crash. His parents, who live in Raanana, had this park built in his memory.
This is one of my favorite places in Raanana, near the Music and Arts Center and the Municipal Sports Center. It is a calm and beautiful spot, with a rock fountain, lawns and a small waterway running though the park. On a quiet day or evening you can hear the water flowing, sit down and relax. And remember Gadi.