By Juan Francisco Carrasco
Quito is one of the most visited cities in Ecuador and not only for foreigners but also for people from other cities in Ecuador. Quito is full of cultural, historical, and touristic places such as museums, parks, and churches that not only adults enjoy, but kids too. In this article I will tell you how friendly, charming and fascinating this city can be for kids.
If you think there aren't any museums in Quito for kids, you are wrong! There are many of them and my brother’s favorite is the MIC (Museo Interactivo de Ciencia). This museum located in the neighborhood of Chimbacalle was opened in 2008 and was built in the old yarn and fabric factory “La Industrial.” This museum opened with the sole idea of allowing kids to discover science in their daily lives. This museum has six big permanent exhibition halls, a few temporary ones, and a park that kids will enjoy. One of the most visited kids halls is called “Guaguas” (colloquial way of saying babies or little kids), and it is the perfect place for kids to learn about the environment and ecosystems while playing and having fun. Besides the “Guaguas” hall, my brother and I enjoy going to the “Mente” and “Ludion” hall in which we learn about the power of the mind and the physical phenomena that surround us. We especially enjoy “Mente” because it is full of challenges that need logical thinking and lots of coordination to be solved. Nevertheless, the MIC also has an outside Science Park where kids can run and play while discovering new things.
Another great museum to visit in Quito is the Yaku Water Museum. Located in the neighborhood of El Placer, this museum was built over the first water collection and purification tanks of Quito that in 1913 provided water to the city. “Yaku” in Quechua means water and the goal of the museum is to teach kids the importance of water in our lives. This museum has exhibits and activities to teach the kids about the cycle of water and many interactive zones to entertain the kids while they learn. Yaku also has many viewpoints where you can see Quito’s downtown, El Panecillo, and many of the volcanoes that surround the city. My brother’s favorite part of the Yaku museum is the bubble exhibition. He enjoys making giant bubbles and popping them too, and if he could, he would spend all day there.
My brother also enjoys going to downtown Quito to visit the different churches, museums, and plazas in the city. There are lots of museums about Ecuadorian history and it is a great way to learn about where our family comes from. These museums include the Wax, City, El Alabado, and Colonial Art Museums plus many other museums with religious art. Although these places are less interactive, my brother still enjoys visiting them and learning about the past. Of these places, the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo is my brother's favorite. This place has temporary and permanent exhibits of Ecuadorian artists who represent our culture in different ways. The reason my brother likes this place so much is because there he can see artwork that is quite different.
Besides the museums, another place my brother enjoys near the capital is the Quito Zoo, which is located on the outskirts of the city in Guayllabamba and offers many interesting activities for kids. This place has been rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals from illegal trafficking since 1997. At the zoo you can find Galápagos tortoises, different types of monkeys, Andean condors, lots of bird species, and even jaguars. My brother’s favorite place at the Zoo is the farm because he gets to feed many of the animals.
In addition, another cultural place you can visit with kids in Quito is Latitude 0°0' 0" in Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. This place offers many activities for children like a planetarium to learn about the universe and space, a museum dedicated to the railways and trains of Ecuador, and even a separate pavilion for kids called Chiquitus. This pavilion is separated into three areas including music, science, and art. In these rooms kids can boost their creativity and curiosity while learning about the unique culture of art and music we have in Ecuador and learn how interesting science could really be within these recreational spaces.
Finally, in Quito we have many parks such as La Carolina and Metropolitano, these two being my brother’s favorite ones because there he can do all the activities he likes. These activities include biking, skateboarding, scooter riding, and rollerblading. My brother loves anything with tires and enjoys going to the parks to practice his favorite sports. In Cumbaya we enjoy going to “El Chaquiñan.'' This cycling route goes through many of the neighborhoods of the valley and is the perfect place to ride bikes with family.