Selva Viva, Parque Araucano (Metro Manquehue)
Honestly? I freaked at paying almost 10,000 per adult to take Emilio to see some wildlife at Selva Viva … but thank goodness I did! It’s actually well worth the price, considering that the costs required to heat the place up (jungles are humid) would not be small. When you enter you watch a brief video and remove your layers (because you will sweat), and then you head out into the selva. There’s a canopy of trees, birds flying overhead, and turtles plodding over the path. Within moments the guide is explaining everything you never knew about snakes while draping a colossal python across your shoulders. This is why the place is worth the coin: you can hold and touch everything instead of having to fork out extra. So you can let a rainbow lorikeet scamper up your shoulders, stroke a toucan, hold a hermit crab and even enjoy the delightful clinging of a blue and gold macaw as it settles down on your head (!). The place is big and you can learn alot about the world’s jungles and conservation, especially for young ones with mind’s like sponges. I highly recommend a trip particularly for those who have children at that age where they constantly ask “why?” but we took at Emilio at 1.5 and he loved it (particularly the crabs but definately not the snake!)
Granja Aventura, La Reina (colectivos run from the metro into the park, car parking is at extra cost).
We went to this farm on the same day that a fellow English-Speaking Mum shared her dreadful experience there. Basically her husband had his leg broken by an escaping horse, and not only were the park ill-equipped during such an event, they actually offered little compassion and assistence! Regardless, we still took Emilio as a present for his 2nd birthday because when you live in one of Santiago’s busier suburbs you start to crave nature like nicotine. So off we trotted and I have to say that we all really enjoyed ourselves. There are some fantastic playgrounds carved out of trees with things like tree huts and flying foxes, but all are aimed at much bigger children. We brought a picnic which we ate in one of the picnic areas admist the smell of animal poop, but it was actually really pleasant. There were lots of animals there and lots of staff cleaning out cages and preparing new spaces. In all, I didn’t have an issue with the price and thought it was a great place to visit for a few hours, especially having a child who has only ever seen a real cow several times. BUT I would advise caution around the animals (most of the areas are unattended) and around the playgrounds, which are very ambitious.
My World, La Reina
We took Emilio here as it is a place constantly mentioned on FB by other mums, and because an indoor playarea sounds like a great place to visit during the winter months to burn up some energy (so that Mummy and Daddy can rest better). I do not recommend visiting at the end of a birthday party because … holy smokes! Emilio had fun but it was difficult for him trying to play amongst such a mix of big and small kids. The toys were mostly broken and dirty considering it was so costly to enter, but the thought was good. All in all worthwhile if you live in the area but not worth a special trip.
Parque Bicentenario, Vitacura
I love this park! It’s immaculately maintained and in summr they put out deckchairs so that you can lounge beneath umbrellas in the scorching sun. You can feed giant carp, black swans, flamingoes and ducks at the lake, an area which attracts a whole host of other birdlife that I can’t name. There’s water fountains, a cafe, a giant chess set, a horticultural centre, climbing frames and playgrounds. The restaurant, Mestizo, is one of Santiago’s best in my opinion. It’s in a great setting, service is good, you can let your kids play in the grass (if you sit outside) and the food is delicious. It is a little pricey but well worth it – I recommend choosing the octopus starter and the chocolate volcano for dessert!
Aerodromo de Planes, Vitacura
Ok so I know that you have to be a member to visit, but every year this Glider’s Club opens its doors for free to the public. We went this year and it was AWESOME – especially if you have a child that loves things that move. There was a show by robot planes, alongside flying helicopters/planes/gliders. There was a playground, food trucks, music and also grounded helicopters that you could enter and play around in. Highly worth a visit for Family Fun Day (what we call it in our house!) plus its NOT loud so you don’t need to stress about earmuffs etc.
See my blog here. Also details our visit to Museo Artequin
Museo de los Carabineros
This is an excellent museum located off of Bilbao, right next door to the Police training school. I had never heard of it before and was pleasantly surprised because it is filled to the brim with engaging displays. Basically, this museum traces the history of organized crimewatching in Santiago, all the way to the start of Spanish colonization. Alot of effort has been put into making this place interesting and relevant and, while it is definately not for young children, small effort has been made to keep them entertained with games and interactive displays.
Universidad de Santiago Planetarium
Visit the website for more information about current showings.
Parque de la Infancia, Recoleta (Metro Cerro Blanco/Cementerios)
Follow the link to the blog – it is so good it gets it’s own blog!