Last week we had the chance to take our little Monkey to the Museo del Nino (Children’s Museum) in San Jose, Costa Rica. He and his cousins had a great time racing around in the play area and exploring all of the exhibits. My main complaint is that we didn’t have enough time to see it all!
The building itself was once a prison! (I prefer to think it looks like a castle). According to the museum’s website, the building was converted into a national cultural center in 1993, and the Children’s Museum opened in 1994. The building also houses an art gallery and theater.
The museum sits on top of one of San Jose’s many hills, giving us this amazing view of the city.
Exhibit on recycling: “Educating for today and tomorrow.” Of course, environmentalism is all the rage the world over, but it has special meaning in Costa Rica, which prides itself on being “green.”
Teaching the kids how to recycle different kinds of glass.
Practice sorting glass, aluminum, and paper in a toy kitchen.
Can you guess how many Earths would fit inside Jupiter?
A representation of Costa Rica’s most famous astronaut. Franklin Chang Diaz has done quite a bit to promote science and technology in Costa Rica, including construction of a plasma motor for NASA. The prototype arrived in Costa Rica just about the same time we did.
Earthquake simulator (very appropriate in Costa Rica, where earthquakes are very common!)
Model of the earth
As a student of history and anthropology, I of course loved the cultural section! Here is some indigenous pottery. Costa Rica is still home to a number of indigenous peoples. Historically, they were strongly influenced by the great pre-Colombian centers in Mexico and Guatemala.
Costa Rica’s African heritage: While there were African slaves in colonial Costa Rica, most black Costa Ricans today are descendents of West Indians brought to the country’s Caribbean coast in the late nineteenth century to build the railroad. The province of Limon is still heavily influenced by this Caribbean heritage.
An exhibit of traditional rural life. My little Monkey loved getting to ride on this saddle!
Unfortunately, the text is hard to read in this picture, but this is an interesting write-up about colonial Costa Rica. Costa Rica was actually part of a much larger Central American colony, ruled out of Guatemala. For this reason, most Central American countries gained independence from Spain at the same time and so celebrate their Independence Days at around the same time. At the beginning, there was talk of forming a single country, but that was never realized.
Alright, alright, enough of the history stuff! Let’s see some bugs! These huge spiders were crawling up one of the walls in the museum. (Don’t worry, Mom, they are just pretend!)
A view of the “jungle.”
The above is only a very small part of what we saw that day! We will definitely visit again on our next trip to Costa Rica.