Saturday, February 14, 2015

Museo de Los Niños Costa Rica, The Best Children's Museum Ever

Friday the 13th was the best day ever!  Being the first week of school in Costa Rica, class released early at 9am. We had a plan to deliver 15 cases of Jerky to our distributor in San Jose, then drop off more jerky to our friend Gary, who is addicted to our Picante, then end up at the Children's Museum, Museo de Los Niños.  The kids were ecstatic. We used to take Max to the zoo and the Museums in Houston, and ever since, he is always asking to go to the museum. We live in Grecia, so it is about an hour drive into San Jose. Since we have a 3 children, ages 1, 3 and 5, we often find it difficult to make everyone happy. Today was an exception. After making the deliveries, we were all a bit hungry. Lucky for us, there was a guy parked in front of a park in Pavas selling ceviche, a personal favorite of Max and mine. We bought 2 cups for 2 mil ($4 US) and it was delicious. We also bought 2 large bags of mandarins from another guy on the side of the road. 15 mandarinas per bag for 1 mil  each for a total of 2 mil ($4 US). Sara and Sofia ate about 10 of them before we arrived at the museum. 

Originally, the Central Penitentiary for 80 years, the building was a prison filled with darkness. Closed in 1979 and abandoned until it was transformed into a castle full of happiness in 1994. At approximately 30,000 square feet, the building was much larger than expected. We paid the entrance fee of about 8 mil ($16 US) for 2 adults and 3 kids, not bad. We were impressed from the moment we arrived. The historic stone building was spectacular, presenting photos from past to present, along with waterfall art and creative sculptures. We started in the Space exploration Rooms, then winded our way around 2 hours of displays, mostly interactive. The baby walked through much of the displays and the kids were able to play puzzles, press buttons and learn, keeping everyone happy and busy. There was an abundance of student staff for each exhibit as well, all friendly, informative and happy to help. Our kids speak Spanish, but a few of the students enjoyed showing off their English skills. They even enjoyed learning about pendulums and centripetal forces in the Spaceship Cockpit display. There was also an excellent display of progression from ancient Costa Rican culture to the more modern present. They learned about Electricity and how we have lights. They learned about holograms and reflections. The museum was so full of wonder, we had a hard time staying focused. We allowed for 2 hours, but we could have easily stayed all day. There were several play areas, even a puppet show. The medical displays and interactive dental rooms were a huge hit! 

There were also dinosaur digs. There was even a helicopter exhibit that the kids were allowed to venture inside! From a science lab to a jungle exhibit with snakes, turtles, fish and poison dart frogs to giant spiders on the wall, the museum just kept on giving. 

There was even an Egyptian exhibit with impressive displays teaching ancient paper making. The attendant was so enthusiastic, even scaring the kids with some fun mummy awakenings.  The kids played on a giant chess board. The end was the best of all. The dinosaur exhibit was truly lifelike and moving, Sara and Sofia were hesitant to enter the arena. Sara almost cried at the Tyrannosaurus Rex, until she finally realized they were just for pretend.     This is a MUST SEE VIDEO:

I can't believe we have lived here almost 2 years and this is the first time we have gone to the Children's Museum. I highly recommend it for families of any age! We were so impressed we can't wait to go back for another visit! We were even worried about Friday afternoon traffic, but thanks to our brilliant WAZE app, we weaved in and out of traffic easily, just escaping rush hour traffic. We made it back to Grecia in time to send a case of jerky to Jacó Fine Meats via Correos. We decided that the kids were so good in the museum, we would treat ourselves to an early family Valentine's dinner.  We tried the Cilantro Cafe, but they were closed at 4pm, so we just missed them as they are only open for breakfast and lunch. We ended up at the Grecia Social Club and so glad we did. It was inexpensive and the server, "Napo" short for Napolean took great care of us. He even taught Max how to stick a small straw inside of a larger straw to blow straw missiles. We scarfed our food down and it was delicious. The Grecia Social Club was kid friendly and had great views. Our total bill was about 14 mil ($28 US) and that included a couple of beers. 

There is so much more to Costa Rica than beaches, jungles and mountains. The museum was better than any other Children's Museum we have seen. Whether you are here on a vacation, or living here as expats, please go, it is well worth the trip. I also forgot to mention, there were no water fountains during the tour, so we were very thirsty at the end of it all. We stopped at the snack shop, expecting a hefty bill for 2 juice boxes, 3 marshmallow treats and a bottled water, but it was surprisingly cheap at under 2 mil ($4 US). I don't think you can buy 1 drink at the Houston Zoo for that price. The whole day, dinner included ran us under 28 mil ($56 US) and with the recent drop in gas prices, it was even better! Plus we have a fridge full of mandarin oranges. We are living the dream, succeeding at a new Jerky business we love and sharing the world with our children. Pura Vida! 


  1. I'm not sure, but your husband went with you? Does he drive? How are the roads? Was everything in Spanish in the museum? Are your kids picking up the language? Do you find a lot of English speakers?

  2. Yes, my husband drives us everywhere. When he is out delivering jerky, we ride the bus to town. The roads are slow and many bridges are one way. I do get a little motion sick sometimes zig-zagging from one mountain to the next, but it is beautiful and always an adventure. Just download the WAZE app, it will get you from point A to B.

    1. Also, some of the exhibits were in English and Spanish, but there are plenty of helpful staff to show you around and many of them spoke English. Definitely get a guide because we missed a ton of exhibits the first time since it is such a large place. Yes, Max speaks fluent Spanish and Sara speaks half and half now. She will be fluent next year when she starts school.


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