The city of eternal spring is a paradise for traveling families with children. Its almost perfect climate, its different landscapes, the variety of activities it offers, and the ease of public transportation make Medellín the ideal destination.
- Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden: Going to the Botanical Garden can be quite an adventure, especially if you go with children. We recommend bringing a picnic and taking the Metro (one of our kids’ favorite parts of the trip!) which leaves you a few steps from the entrance. The entrance to the garden is free (one of our favorite parts of the trip!). Inside you will find large green areas full of different species of plants and birds, trees that provide good shade, a lake where we have seen ducks and iguanas, a very cool butterfly house, walks through the forest that make you feel that you are not in the middle of the city, and although we have never been able to ride it, we have seen that there is a little train that goes around the park. This walk is ideal for spending the afternoon or morning, walking, eating, resting outdoors, and learning about the beauties of nature.
How to get there: By subway Line A to Estación Universidad. If you go by car, they offer parking with cost
Recommendations: Bring a picnic, water, toys to play outdoors, a sheet to lie down, a book. If you don’t bring a picnic, they have a good restaurant service with different options
Why we like it: It is a break from city life without leaving it, an opportunity to be outdoors in a place full of nature
- Explora Park: Normally we do the walk from the Botanical Garden to Explora or vice versa, but we wanted to put it separate in this post because it depends on the children’s age (and parent’s energy!) to do both places together on the same day. Explora is an interactive museum for all ages and they are constantly changing their exhibitions and activities. They have different interactive rooms where you can play and learn with science. These rooms are more for older children. If you go with babies or children under 5 years old, there is only one room where they can really do things for their age and that is the children’s room. This room is inside and has a play area with a tree house and educational toys for the little ones. The park also has an outdoor area with cool activities for kids and adults but what we liked and surprised us the most about this place was the aquarium! Here we found a lot of fresh and saltwater fish in different scenarios. The aquarium is nice, well kept, clean, very nice and visually beautiful!
Admission: children under 1.10 meters enter for free. The ticket is $27,000 pesos and gives access to all the exhibits.
How to get there: By subway Line A to Estación Universidad
Recommendations: Try to do the Botanical Garden and Explora in one day. Explora has a food court on the second floor with different fast food offers. If you are going with children over 5 years old, plan a visit of about 3 hours, and much less time with younger children. Make sure the park is open and offers all its services before you go.
Why we like it: what we like best is that, since it is in front of the botanical garden, we can take an all-day trip by going to 2 different places. The aquarium was the exhibit we enjoyed the most.
- Around Medellín by public transport: one of our children’s favourite things is public transport. Buses, trains, trucks, planes, anything that moves and takes them to different places fascinates them. In Medellín you can make a very cool and educational tour using public transportation and visiting different interesting areas of the city. This plan is ideal for all ages as long as you have a good carrier or stroller.
The tour starts by taking one of the feeder buses of the nearest Metro station. Take the metro to San Antonio station. Here you take the tram to Alejandro Echavarria station. Once here, and if you want to continue the walk, you can get off and take the metro cable to the neighborhood La Sierra and return. Otherwise, you can return at Alejandro Echavarria. When you get back on the tram, you have to get off at Buenos Aires station and go to the Mercado del Tranvía to eat something delicious. After, you can continue your journey back to San Antonio and then home
Cost: it varies, but we recommend buying a “Tarjeta Cívica” and recharge it when needed.
Recommendation: Have a good carrier or stroller. A backpack with snacks and water, comfortable shoes and a charged cell phone to take lots of pictures!
Why we like it: We can see Medellín, its culture and its people from the perspective of public transportation. It’s our children’s favorite activity.
- The UVAS and its libraries: The Articulated Life Units are parks that the city designed to take advantage of spaces already used to store water tanks, and in which the community and water are the protagonists. We have only visited the UVA in El Poblado, but there are more in other areas of the city. At the El Poblado UVA, there are soccer and basketball courts, multi-level playgrounds, and exercise areas for adults. There are also many green areas ideal for picnics and we’ve even seen them celebrate birthdays outdoors there. After sweating it out for a while walking and playing around the park, you can relax in the library where there is a good selection of books for children and adults and areas to sit or lie down and read. Don’t leave without playing in the water jets near the tank, which look much better in the evening.
Recommendations: Bring things to make a picnic, or a backpack with snacks and water, comfortable shoes, hats and sunglasses. Swimsuit and a change of clothes for the kids when they go into the jets.
Why we like it: it’s like taking the kids to the park but with lots of other things to do including reading books and getting wet in jets of water!
- Los Salados Park: One of our favorite plans! 40 minutes from Medellín in El Retiro, via La Fe, is this ecological park with many activities for the whole family. In the park you will find green areas with tables to eat and grill, a dam where you can practice different water sports or rent boats or water bikes to go around it.
They also have different children’s areas with games, a super modern playground, and a tricycle track marked as a real road! On the other side there is a park just for dogs, a paintball area, and a soccer field. The park has a train that runs through it, which the kids love because it is colorful and big. They have a restaurant service with a typical menu, but bringing a picnic or your own food to grill is ideal. You can easily spend the whole day here and even take a nap in one of their hammocks.
Entrance fee: Varies according to age and day of the week. On weekdays the entrance is cheaper. Children under 2 years old do not pay. The ticket includes the boat ride and the train ride.
How to get there: by car or public service bus
Recommendations: Ideally, you should have a picnic or bring your own food. Comfortable shoes and clothes, swimsuit, sweater and warm clothes as it can get cold in the afternoon. Plan to spend around 4-5 hours in this park.
Why we like it: To get out of the city and be in the country in the open air in a place where there are activities for the whole family.
- The Santa Fe Zoo: We took our time to go to this zoo because we didn’t really find it appealing. But one day we didn’t have anything planned and decided to give it a chance and were so glad to have made it there!
We have had the opportunity to visit some of the best zoos in the United States with our kids, like the Smithsonian in Washington DC and the Bronx Zoo in New York. When we left the Medellin Zoo we were convinced that they were on the right track and, although on a smaller scale, they did not have much to envy the other more recognized zoos. We like zoos with wide and large areas so that animals can walk and live a life more like the wild, clean and organized zoos, with signs and good information, with guides and staff who know about animals and how to teach people about them, a zoo that participates in the conservation of species and not just exhibit the animals. The Santa Fe Zoo has all this plus a very complete food court.
Admission: free for children under 2 years old. 2 to 12 years old $8,000 pesos 13 years and up $15,000
How to get there: Public transport bus to metro station Industriales, or metro bus. The zoo offers parking with cost.
Why we like it: It is a clean and well kept place where children can interact in various ways with different animals in a not too long tour but full of information and fun.
What are your children’s favourite places?