SUMMER vacation from school is taking place right now in Costa Rica; our verano (summer) runs now through April – the opposite of northern summers. In spite of the recent unseasonably cool weather, kids have no excuse to be bored at home. Several organizations are offering a wide variety of summer activities for kids to enjoy.
For learning experiences in the fresh air, try the following (see the Calendar pages for schedule and location details): Sister institutions Simón Bolivar Zoo, in San José’s Barrio Amón, and Santa Ana Conservation Center, southwest of San José, offer interesting workshops at which kids can learn about all kinds of animals, throughout the year. Older children ages 7-12 can participate in day camps (including overnight stay) and night hikes to observe nocturnal animals, while tots 2-4 can enjoy activities such as getting close to farm creatures and learning about planting. For more information, call 256-0012 or 233-6701.
INBioparque at the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) in Heredia, north of San José, offers summer activities divided into blocks by age. Children 3-5 can enjoy activities entitled “Little Explorers,” “Discovering the Animal World,” “The Magic of Butterflies” or “Playing with Soil,” while kids 6-8 can become “Farmers for a Day,” “Learn about Insects” or explore those “Fantastic Ants.” For older kids ages 9-11, “A Day with the Boas,” “Beetle Safari” or “Plant a Garden” offer plenty of fun and excitement. To contact the park, call 507-8115.
FOR those who prefer to leave learning for class time in favor of fun family outings, a number of festivals are under way or coming up.
Roller coasters, carousels, horse parades and a carnival are on the program at the Palmares Fiestas in Palmares, northwest of San José. The festival will be welcoming visitors from all over the country through Jan. 23. Other festivals taking place around now are the Mule Festival in Parrita, on the central Pacific coast, through Jan. 29; the Puntarenas Carnival in the Pacific port city of Puntarenas, Feb. 9-16; the Mayan New Year and Fiesta del Sol in Santa Cruz, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste; and the Liberia Fiestas, scheduled to take place Feb. 24-March 5 in Guanacaste’s capital.
IF the summer weather proves fickle, kids don’t have to sit around yawning at home or gaping at the TV. The Children’s Museum is offering “Vacaciones Felices” vacation camps featuring games, Internet, rallies, ecological and scientific exploration, meals, snacks and a T-shirt. Kids 5-13 may participate; groups are divided by age. Camps are being held through Jan. 27. For information, call 258-4929, ext. 113 or 114.
Librería Internacional bookstores are advertising fun summer activities including theater, crafts, martial arts, drawing and yoga classes at various locations around the Central Valley. Classes are free, but participants must call 800-542-7374 to register.
Other indoor options include the Arts Camp, which offers art, music, ecology and creative activities for kids 7-17 at the Editus Arts Academy in San José’s Barrio Escalante. For more information, call 234-0491.
THOUGH many activities cost money, others are free, such as at the National Museum in San José. Summer workshops on origami, crafts, storytelling, butterflies and dinosaurs are available for kids of different ages to enjoy. For more information, call 257-1433, ext. 223.
For kids with special needs, the Museum of Forms, Spaces and Sounds in San José is offering summer classes including popular dance for deaf children 8-12; tactile stimulation for visually impaired kids 4-6; origami for mentally handicapped children 10-12; and dance therapy for the visually impaired, ages 9-12. For more information, call 222-9462.
For schedule and location information for any of the above activities, see the Children section in the Calendar pages.