Visit the Children's Museum

Museo de los Niños - San Jose
Museo de los Niños - San Jose

Costa Rica’s beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery and rich culture have made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in recent years. San Jose has particularly become popular. If you plan to visit the city, be sure to check out the Children’s Museum — Museo de los Ninos — for a uniquely exciting experience.

Rich in History

The Children's Museum is truly rich in history. Prior to becoming what it is today, the building was known as the Central Penitentiary for 80 years. After closing in 1979, the building sat empty until Gloria Bejarano de Calderon, the First Lady of Costa Rica at the time, decided to open a museum that focused on entertainment and science. The museum opened its doors in April 1994 and has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike ever since. Nearly 300,000 people walk through its doors each year.

Fun for the Entire Family

Children and adults alike will love the variety of activities they can participate in at The Children's Museum. The building contains 40 different interactive rooms, each one offering a new adventure. Start by learning about the universe, archaeology or Egyptian culture before moving on to interacting in rooms dedicated to Costa Rica, nature and modes of transportation. Other rooms include the human body, electricity, television and recycling.

In addition to the wide variety of activities available each day, the museum hosts several events throughout the year. Depending on when you visit, you can participate in events that celebrate Children's Day, the museum's anniversary, Christmas and other holidays. Summer camps are also available. Each event focuses on important skills and traits such as happiness, friendship, patience and perseverance.

Regardless of which activities or events you choose to participate in, you'll truly be a part of the fun. Unlike other museums that tend to practice "look but don't touch," The Children's Museum wants you to truly experience each piece of information. Children and adults alike can see what it's like to direct a symphony, visit a milk farm and even talk to a life-sized NASA astronaut robot. Don't forget to check out the floor that lets you make music by dancing across it. You can even experience a simulated earthquake.

Other Activities to Enjoy

As a part of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, The Children's Museum is home to three more important projects. The National Gallery is devoted to the visual arts. Its 14 rooms host five different exhibits a month as well as painting, photography, digital art and sculpture programs for individuals and groups. The National Theater of Costa Rica is another important project for the area. Rich in architectural and cultural history, the theater has hosted ballets, symphonies, plays and a variety of other events over the past 100 years. Finally, the museum is home to a zone for young people that provides a safe space to meet friends and hang out.

Spending Time at the Museum

Located just north of San Jose downtown, The Children’s Museum is easily reached by taxi and a parking lot is available if you plan to drive yourself. Because of its size, expect to spend at least one entire day at this attraction if you want to see everything. Many former visitors say they went back the next day to finish the experience. Tour guides are available for those who wish to learn even more as they tour the museum. An on-site cafeteria ensures everyone gets a healthy meal or snack in between experiences.

At just $3.49 USD for children under 15 and $3.83 USD for everyone else, The Children’s Museum is an excellent way to take in the culture of Costa Rica even if you are vacationing on a tight budget. The building is open every day except Monday.

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