First things first, it’s not really a park. Or rather how you would conventionally think of a park. It’s more of an interactive museum of science and technology, with an aquarium and a few dinosaurs thrown in for added measure.
On the weekends it is not difficult to know where to go as it can be very busy and massive queues can form. Please note it’s not open on Mondays.
The entrance fee is slightly expensive for Colombia with a cover of 20,000 pesos ($10). Students get in for 18,000 pesos ($9) and kids go free with adults.
It’s also interesting to note that people who live in estratos 1-3 (neighborhoods’ numerically arranged according to their level of prosperity with 1 being the least developed, 6 the most developed), get in for free when they present their utilities bill – another great demonstration of how Medellin looks to ensure that those from the less developed areas get access to activities, entertainment and education.
As you enter the park you will walk across a map of Medellín. I love a good map and this is truly one of the best I have had the pleasure of viewing. Yup, I get pleasure from viewing maps.
It’s actually a series of photos of Medellin from a bird’s eye view and put together so you can wander across and you can try to identify where your block/flat/house/hostel is. I spent too long on this (maybe 30 minutes) but if you like maps (lots of travelers do I imagine) then you will like this.
The park itself is home to over 300 different interactive experiences and has three distinct interactive areas divided into neuroscience, physics and communication.
It also has an aquarium (the largest freshwater aquarium in Latin America, don’t you know), a terrarium (with snakes, frogs, turtles and the like), an outdoor dinosaur exhibition and a 3D movie hall.
You have to choose your route around the Parque, and I went for the aquarium and Mind, the World Inside exhibition hall.
The aquarium, though not necessarily large, is full of aquatic life (funny that) and there is a cool Amazon basin section with a massive tree that replicates the aquatic life of the Amazon river.
The signs and explanations of the exhibitions are both in Spanish and English. This is great for anyone who wants to test their Spanish.
You will end up spending quite a bit of time learning about certain fish (quite specialist knowledge but I suppose you never know when it might come in handy).
The staff at Parque Explora are very friendly and willing to tell you more about the little Nemo fish should you wish to test out your Spanish listening skills as well. Many of them seem to be students from the local universities that are keen to share their knowledge.
I found out all about the reproduction processes for some random fish, which again gave some new, though I suspect utterly useless vocabulary.
The Mind, Inside exhibition hall was full of fun interactive games about the human mind and the way we function and communicate.
There was a rather interesting section about the way great orators in history communicate and features speeches from famous historical figures from Che Guevara to Martin Luther King.
Although some of the different activities didn’t work, those that did were informative and fun. Kids will especially enjoy them and there is a room which makes everything smaller and then bigger at the same time. Quite the optical illusion.
After exploring the park, which you could quite happily do for several hours (depending on how much you like maps and knowing how those cheeky Nemo fish reproduce), there is a row of restaurants for you to grab a bite to eat.
The food is slightly on the expensive side and it might be worth waiting to head back to the Botanical Gardens if you’re hungry.
However, Parque Explora is definitely worth a visit for those inquisitive souls, young or old, and combined with a jaunt to Jardín Botánico, can make a great little day trip.