Morelia: A land of adventures for children
In the southern part of Morelia there is the Benito Juárez Zoological Park, world renowned for its great variety of animals. The Zoo has had great success in the reproduction of species in captivity, a most difficult task and our Zoo has recently been blessed with the birth of a sea lion.
The Zoo covers approximately 620 acres and has a great variety of trees representing many species. Our young visitors will find lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, snakes, zebras, llamas, bison, bears, including polar bears, as well as a multitude of birds and insects to form a collection of 3,800 varieties of fauna. The Zoo is visited by more than one million people every year.
You can traverse the Zoo by train, boat (there is a 75 acre lake) or by the old fashioned way — walking. The visitors may also enjoy a great day in the country, picnicking in the special areas provided for this purpose. If your home or hotel cannot provide you with a lunch there are small cafes available. The Zoo is open Monday through Friday from 10:AM to 5:PM and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays until 6:PM. There is a cost of 12 pesos for adults and 6 pesos for children.
The Planetarium is about ten blocks away from the Zoo and there your children can touch the stars! The Planetarium is in a complex of green areas, a convention center, a theater for live productions, an expocenter, a public library and an Orchidarium. The Planetarium seats 361 people and since it opened in the 1980´s, thousands of children have enjoyed learning more about their universe. It is open Monday through Saturday beginning at 7:PM and on Sunday at 6:30 PM. The cost is 20 pesos per person.
If you have a sweet tooth come to the historic center of Morelia and enjoy cakes and ice cream in our open-air cafes and, if you are here on Sunday, the children´s program in the main plaza. Besides the usual flavor of ice cream you can find exotic flavors such as mamey and zapote, two of our original American fruits.
If you walk from the open-air cafes, past the Post Office ( Las Monjas) you will find the Sweets Museum whose staff will show you how the traditional sweets of Morelia are made. Besides these typical sweets you can learn about desserts and sweets made in the other parts of our state.
Another fine way to get to know the city is to board one of the motorized street cars, which are copies of the vehicles used during the 19th century and pulled by mules at that time. Now the street cars are used to show our citizens and tourists the city of Morelia. The tour is fun and has bilingual tour guides.
If you like history and mystery, then take the whole family on a guided walking tour. Your guide will take you to some of the principal historic buildings in Morelia such as the Hotel de la Soledad, which was a carriage barn (garage) at the end of the 18th and in the 19th centuries, where they have preserved several very fine examples of these carriages in the hallway around the main patio You can also visit the Conservatory and church of Las Rosas, the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and its former convent, now the Michoacan Institute of Culture (which has a great collection of somewhat scary masks). If you are not afraid you can go into the crypt of Don Miguel de Peredo, a colonial gentleman who was a great benefactor to the Carmelite Order. The legends the guides will tell you about go from the romantic to the comic to the tragic. But what is life without its legends?
If you want an adrenaline rush, close to Morelia you will find spas, swimming pools and great rides, such as the grand toboggan. One of these areas is the Reino de Atzimba (Kingdom of Atzimba) in Zinapecuaro about forty-five minutes from Morelia. Closer to the city, but more peaceful, is the spa at Cointzio, ten minutes from Morelia, where they have a few cabins to rent.
As you can see, Morelia is far from being a place just for adults who appreciate history. Beside the usual movie theaters our young visitors can find much to do and have an unforgettable vacations, with the added attractions of having visited a place full of the memories of its heroic past.
Did you know that Morelia was very important in the struggle for independence from the Spaniards? Check it out! Come see us soon.