Today we went to the Museo de los Ninos (Children’s Museum) in Costa Rica. This is a damn cool museum for kids and it is HUGE. It is built in the abandoned shell of the former Central Prison originally constructed in 1906. It contains several levels of interactive scientific awesomeness for kids to manhandle, thereby spreading countless amounts of germs around for other kids to coat their respective bodies in. Science!
As an adult, the only complaint I have about the museum is that it is too damn big. It’s an unfortunate scientific fact that an adult’s level of “let’s get the hell out of here, already!” will be reached long before a child’s mind has been thoroughly nourished by a four story museum that takes roughly 3 hours to get through. Interestingly, the museum itself works as a demonstration of this fact!
But I joke. It really is an incredible museum that does a great job of getting kids involved while actually teaching them something. Among the highlights:
- A “super jump” and rock climbing wall.
- A space exploration exhibit with space suits kids can wear. It also boasts a large “command center” with computers the kids can bang on, an actual space suit worn by an actual astronaut, and space rocks.
- A live-sized picture of a kid showing the placement of his kidneys and bladder that actually pees when you squeeze a little rubber ball.
- A very informative exhibit describing how condoms reduce the chances of contracting HIV. No kidding. It explains that if you have sex with an HIV infected person your chances of contracting HIV are 1 in 6 and illustrates this with a large wooden game die with the letters “HIV” written one side that you can roll to see how you would fare. I was actually pretty impressed by this. It was well done and probably something kids should have some sense of long before actually start rolling dice, if you get my drift.
- An entire helicopter kids could climb all over and in.
- An entire dual prop airplane kids could climb all over and in.
- A miniaturized version of a bank to teach kids about money, and also…
- A miniaturized version of a Walmart. Again, no kidding. It’s fully stocked with pretend products. Before kids enter they are given a certain amount of play money to use. After shopping they check out and must pay with their money…if they have enough! This interactive exhibit is called Consumidor Inteligente (Intelligent Consumer)…I’m not sure those words necessarily apply to Walmart, but at least it’s fun!
One good thing about the museum being built out of an old prison, is that when your kid starts to act up you can tell him there are still dungeons down below where they put bad kids, so take that damn HIV dice out of your mouth!