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Children's Entertainment Tour in San Jose (Self Guided), San Jose

As many other cities in the world, San Jose has a lot to offer to its young tourists to keep them occupied and happy. Museum of Children, for instance, is full of fun, with plenty of educational activities and adventures. Take this tour for an unforgettable experience for you and your family.
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Children's Entertainment Tour in San Jose Map

Guide Name: Children's Entertainment Tour in San Jose
Guide Location: Costa Rica » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: john
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza de la Cultura
  • Museo del Oro Precolombino
  • Serpentario
  • Parque Nacional
  • Parque Zoologico Simon Bolivar
  • Spirogyra Butterfly Garden
  • Museo de los Ninos
Plaza de la Cultura

1) Plaza de la Cultura (must see)

The Plaza de la Cultura is a lively downtown square where the locals hang out, show off their musical skills, have their art on display, or feed the pigeons. It is surrounded by shopping and housing some of the major museums. You can visit many little vendors and even see some street entertainers. It is also a favorite spot in town among locals for marimba bands, jugglers, clowns, and the like. There is a lot of food to be eaten, as well as places to buy souvenirs. If you're lucky there will be a dance or music performance going on.

The Teatro Nacional is to be found on the southern end of the plaza. You can also visit the Museo del Oro Precolumbino here. The Grand Hotel of Costa Rica is on the western side.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo del Oro Precolombino

2) Museo del Oro Precolombino (must see)

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is located in a subterranean building underneath the Plaza de la Cultura and is managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. The museum has a substantial collection of over 1600 artifacts of Pre-Columbian gold dating back to AD 500.

The collection includes Costa Rica's first coin, the Media Escudo which was minted in 1825, animal (notably frog) figurines, amulets, earrings, erotic statuettes and El Guerrero, a life-sized gold warrior figure adorned with gold ornaments in a glass case. In Costa Rican history, gold was considered a symbol of authority and the items are a testament to the craftsmanship of the Pre-Columbian period. There is also a replica of a pre-Columbian grave containing 88 gold objects which was unearthed on a banana plantation in southeastern Costa Rica in the 1950s.

The Museo Numismático (National Coin Museum) is also located in the same building on the ground level and features displays dating back to 1236, including coins, banknotes and unofficial items such as coffee tokens. The "Casa de Moneda" is also located on the ground level with information on the history of minting in Costa Rica and displays illustrating its development.

The ground level focuses on currency while the lower two levels focus on pre-Columbian gold. There are also exceptional traveling exhibits, so keep an eye out!
There are free lockers for wet coats, umbrellas and bags, but you'll be asked to remove your hat so that security cameras have a clear view of your face.
The gift shop has some very nice reproductions as well as beautiful modern native art and offers a welcome antidote to cheap souvenir shops in the city.

Operation Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9:15-5pm (last admission 30min before closing time).
Open 11am-5pm every first Wednesday of the month.
Closed on New Year’s Day, Thursday to Sunday during Holy Week (offices open until noon on Wednesday), April 11, May 1, July 25, August 2, August 15, September 15, October 12, the second Friday in December, December 24 to 27, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Serpentario (must see)

The Serpentario is very popular among young tourists. In this downtown snake museum, you can learn more about the species that live in Costa Rica. You can also see other members of the lizard family such as iguanas, frogs, caimans and turtles. Once a week, the Serpenario organizes a snake show for the tourists.
Parque Nacional

4) Parque Nacional (must see)

This is the National Park of Costa Rica, located in the downtown section of Barrio La Soledad. It is full of wonderful tropical trees and exotic plants from the country. It is also quite popular among locals, as they often come here to eat lunch, read newspapers, and allow their children a safe place to play.

You will also want to check out the big bronze monument that rests in the park. It depicts the battle of Central America against William Walker, who tried to invade the area in 1856. Costa Rica took on a primary role in that five-country battle, as prominently displayed in the monument erected in 1895. It was designed by Louis Carrier Belleuse, who studied under Rodin at one time. For people visiting from the U.S., seeing the monument and the history it displays may be quite a shock, as the country fought against Americans of the time.

Why You Should Visit:
As some of the park areas in San Jose are covered by paving slabs, this one is great to have grass. The sculptures are fun, too, and the koi pond adds further interest.
The park has many different species of flora, places to sit, and seems to be a very safe place during the daylight hours.
Parque Zoologico Simon Bolivar

5) Parque Zoologico Simon Bolivar (must see)

The Zoológico Simón Bolívar is an urban park of approximately 14 hectares, located in downtown San José – the oldest botanical garden and zoo in Costa Rica. The name pays homage to Latin American national founder Simón Bolívar. It is administered by a conservation nonprofit foundation called Fundazoo. All animals in the zoo are orphaned, injured or have been disabled and are nursed back to health in hopes of releasing them.

In August 2017, the zoo held a collection of 11 species of mammals, about 30 species of birds, more than 10 species of reptiles, 2 species of frogs and 1 species of fish.

Species list August 2017:


Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine;
Central American tapir;
Greater grison;
Brutus, the jaguar;
Grey Fox;
Hoffmann's Two-toed sloth;
White-nosed coatis
White-headed capuchin
Black-handed spider monkey

Bird species include;

Great Curassow, Black Guan, Crested Guan, Gray-headed chachalaca, Indian peafowl, Gray Hawk, Swaison's Hawk, Bat Falcon, Barn Owl, Striped Owl, Spectacled Owl, Mottled Owl, Tropical Screech-Owl, Crimson-fronted parakeet, Olive-throated parakeet, Orange-chinned parakeet, White-crowned parrot, Yellow-naped parrot, Red-lored parrot, White-fronted parrot, Mealy Parrot, Great Green Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Emerald Toucanet, Collared Aracari, Black-mandibled Toucan, Painted bunting and Yellow-bellied siskin

Other species include;

Various species of turtles, Emperor boa, Green vine snake, Side-lined Palm Pitviper, Tropical Rattlesnake, Fer-de-Lance, Eyelash Pitviper, American crocodile, Spectacled caiman, Strawberry poison frog, Blue-sided Tree Frog and Koi carp.

Why You Should Visit:
Good variety of rescued animals and birds, with the place having lush foliage and plants that provide shade and a nice natural habitat for the creatures.

Try to get there at the opening or between 12-1pm so you can see the animals being fed.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-3:30pm; Sat, Sun: 9am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Spirogyra Butterfly Garden

6) Spirogyra Butterfly Garden (must see)

The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is a small garden located behind a lovely little house. The gardens may not be large, but they are a welcome reprieve from the usual city sights and sounds. A welcome oasis of peace and beauty awaits visitors. While you probably won’t be here for more than a couple of hours, it is definitely worth the visit if you love flowers and peaceful settings.

The garden boosts around 1200 species of butterflies and about that many moths. Of course, there are also plants for the caterpillars to eat and then transform themselves into incredible butterflies. And there are also plants for those butterflies that sip nectar to feed themselves. The life cycles of butterflies are very well explained and you can see alive examples of each stage at the end of the garden. There's no need to be an expert as just admiring the beauty of nature is a lovely way to embrace the Pura Vida! Pictures, of course, are a must.

Plan to go in the cool morning to see the butterflies getting going in the morning as the sun warms their wings and have a bite of lunch in the Colibri Café Galleria. It is a great spot to watch the hummingbirds and butterflies enjoying their lunch as well. The garden is located across from the El-Pueblo shopping center.

Besides the butterfly garden, the visit includes a short hike in the small nearby forest overlooking the river.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-2pm; Sat, Sun: 9am-3pm
Museo de los Ninos

7) Museo de los Ninos (must see)

Museo de los Niños is a wonderful place to take kids. The building itself is an old prison, although now it has a castle appearance from the outside. Any older kids will love to see the old prison cell exhibits. The museum is geared to kids up to through the age of 12, but the exhibits are interactive, so even the older kids may become engrossed with them.

Kids will love seeing the sarcophagus in the Egyptian section. They can also feel what an earthquake is like, explore the outer regions of space and make some music. If you’re raising your little explorers to read Spanish this is an especially practical excursion as all the displays are written in Spanish. However, if it's not part of the child’s repertoire, that’s still not a reason not to visit. Kids are kids and they will figure out the exhibits, sometimes by watching their peers.

The Museum is located at Calle 4 and Avenida 9. The name on the building is “Centro Costarricense de Ciencia y Cultura” so don’t be confused when the driver drops you off there.

Bring a packed lunch – the food in the cafeteria is small and with very basic food.
Note also that the surrounding neighborhood is not a good place for children, so make sure you have transportation onto the grounds.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 8am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun: 9:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in San Jose, Costa Rica

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Jose is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museum Walk in San Jose

Museum Walk in San Jose

Although San José is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America, its museums display a huge collection of traditional and pre-Columbian art. This walking tour should give you the perfect opportunity to explore the museums in the city and to familiarize yourself with its culture.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.5 Km or 5.3 Miles
San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose enjoys secluded location in the Central Valley of Costa Rica with its skyline dominated by the majestic Talamanca Mountains, hugging the city to the south, and a volcano ridge to the north. Local architecture reflects strong Spanish colonial influence manifested in places like Catedral Metropolitana in Calle Central, and the ornate, neoclassical National Theater presiding over...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Places of Worship Tour in San Jose

Places of Worship Tour in San Jose

San Jose's churches are vivid examples of historical and architectural value. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in places of spirituality from either architectural or historical standpoints, this tour will take you to the most important religious sites of the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Historic Architecture Tour in San Jose

Historic Architecture Tour in San Jose

From a small village of little significance during the Spanish invasion, San Jose grew to become a densely populated cosmopolitan city. The city of San Jose was mostly built from the profits of the coffee-export business, and that is why its architecture represents a mix of European and Latin American features. Take this tour to discover some of the best historical architecture in San Jose.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Jose without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Jose, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Shopping Tour in San Jose

Shopping Tour in San Jose

Shopping in San Jose is undeniably a fun experience, with a large selection of downtown department stores, traditional marketplaces and souvenir shops selling handicrafts. So if you are looking for something authentic, original and made in Costa Rica, then take this tour to visit some of the acclaimed shopping venues of San Jose.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

17 Uniquely Costa Rican Things to Buy in San Jose

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Not to be confused with San Jose, the sunny California, San Jose, Costa Rica is the capital city of a wet (250 centimeters of rainfall per year) and colorful Latin American country renowned for its diverse craftsmanship (courtesy of the numerous indigenous tribes), splendid coffee and rich cultural...