Yarkon Park (Hebrew: פארק הירקון , Park HaYarkon) is a large public urban park (3.8 km²) in Tel Aviv, Israel, with about sixteen million visitors annually. Bounded by Rokach Boulevard on the north and Bavli on the south, the park includes extensive lawns, sports facilities, botanical gardens, an aviary, a water park, two outdoor concert venues and artificial lakes.
Planning of the park began in 1969. When it was opened to the public in 1973, it was called Ganei Yehoshua, honoring Yehoshua Rabinovich, the mayor of Tel Aviv between 1969-1974.
One of the park's main attractions is Tel Afek and its Ottoman -period fortress, Binary Bashi, overlooking the springs of the Yarkon River. Binary Bashi was built in 1571 on top of an ancient tell. The fortress offers a view of the Rosh HaAyin springs, which flow at the foot of Tel Afek. On the eastern part of the tell are the remains of a pumping station from the British Mandate period, used to transport spring water to Jerusalem.
The park has six gardens: Gan HaBanim (Fallen Soldiers Memorial Garden), Gan Nifga'ei HaTeror (Terror Victims Memorial Garden), Gan HaSlaim (Rock Garden), Gan HaKaktusim (Cactus Garden), Gan HaGazum (Trimmed Garden), and Gan HaTropi(Tropical Garden).
The Rock Garden, one of the largest of its kind in the world, reflects Israel's geological diversity. In its 10-acre enclosure the rocks are interspersed with some 3,500 species of plants, including over six acres of cacti. The five-acre Tropical Garden has a wooden walkway shaded by palm trees leading to a small lake. The rainforest-like microclimate is supports a large variety of orchids and vines.
The Yarkon River runs through the park and reaches the Mediterranean Sea at the park's western edge, then connects into the Tel Aviv Port, an entertainment and tourism center. Despite clean-up efforts in the last few years, the river is still polluted. Despite its polluted waters, on July 2011 Tel Aviv's mayor, Ron Huldai, jumped into the water and swam in the lake. Nevertheless, the region has retained its biodiversity. It is home to an abundance of insects, water fowl, jackals, porcupines and mongoose.
Yarkon Park has hosted concerts by some of the world's biggest international stars, among them Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Madonna, U2, Depeche Mode, Guns N'Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John, Tina Turner, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Linkin Park, David Bowie, Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Foreigner, The Prodigy, Westlife & 5ive. World-famous Italian La Scala performed a free outdoor concert of Verdi ’s Requiemin the park as a part of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary celebrations, attracting about 100,000 people.
It also hosts annual events such as the City Taste festival, and classical performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Israeli Opera.
Perry Farrell, founder of Lollapalooza, announced that NMC United will be hosting the first-ever Lollapalooza in Israel on August 20-23, 2013.