Colombia has shed its previous negative image and is fast becoming one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. People from all countries, and of all ages are discovering the delights of the South American country. Medellín’s climate, culture and range of fun activities makes it an easy pick for travelers with young children. Not to mention, the locals are exceptionally welcoming towards kids and families.
From theme parks, museums, nature, water sports and exotic animals, here are the best kid-friendly activities in Medellín to keep little ones entertained:
Experience a theme park in the center of Medellín packed with all sorts of amusements like roller coasters, water rides, a flight simulator, slides, bumper cars and huge structures of dinosaurs. The entire park covers just under 40 acres and is broken into different ‘plazoletas’ – Plazaoleta Fantasía is best suited to young children. There is a range of food options here, plus a small lake for those who prefer to take in the picturesque scenery.
Prices range from $25,000 COP – $40,000 COP depending on the type of bracelet you buy, as well as family packages that include access to rides and food.
Metro cable & Parque Arví
For kids who aren’t afraid of heights, the metro cable routes throughout Medellín are an absolute must. There are currently five different lines operating in the city, extending more than 1,187 kilometers in total. However, the most incredible views are visible from the journey up to Parque Arví. The park technically isn’t in Medellín at all, but a small town called Santa Elena which sits atop the valley.
To get to Parque Arví, take the metro cable from Santo Domingo directly up to Arví (costs $6,000 COP). It takes around 20 minutes to arrive and the contrast of the terracotta rooftops with the dense greenery of the hills is unbeatable.
Once you’re at the park, entrance is free and there are various trails you can walk to see a host of wildlife and nature. Visitors can take guided tours if they prefer, and there are sometimes special events like night hiking, markets and live performances. Alternatively, if you want something more adrenaline-pumping, Comfama is an outdoor adventure park with zip-lining, a climbing wall, archery, a 4D cinema and more. To arrive, simply take one of the shuttle buses from the Parque Arví entrance (admission is between $2,300 to $18,000 COP).
Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM)
Located in Ciudad del Rio, MAMM is a fantastic day out for both kids and adults. The museum’s primary focus is contemporary art, however, there is also a range of interactive exhibits and workshops for younger visitors. There’s additionally a cinema that shows films in English (and other languages), a rooftop terrace that boasts views across the city, and an area behind the museum perfect for relaxing with ice cream and watching dog walkers stroll past. Events are held in the outdoor space throughout the year, such as live music concerts and free film showings. Check MAMM’s calendar for a full rundown of goings-on.
Kids under 9 cost $9,000 COP to enter, while adults and older children are $12,000 COP.
A fantastic day out for the whole family, Parque Explora is bursting with innovative and educational things to do. The science museum is home to an aquarium (the largest freshwater one in South America), a terrarium with reptiles, a 3D movie theatre, an outdoor dinosaur display and tons more. The park is brilliant to learn about native wildlife in Colombia, along with delving into all sorts of impressive science experiments.
A visit here is likely to take up the full day, and combo tickets can be bought to include entry to the planetarium ($40,000 COP per person). Standard entry is $27,000 COP, however, children under 1.1 meters don’t have to pay.
Planetario de Medellín
Located just over the road from Parque Explora, Medellín’s planetarium is the place to visit for budding astrologers and astronauts. The building is instantly recognizable from its 57-foot domed rooftop, which inside has a huge screen showing films about the universe. The selection of films changes throughout the year but typically focus on modern space exploration and the possibility of life elsewhere. Most of the movies are in Spanish but some showings now come with English subtitles – ask at reception if this is an option when you arrive.
Tickets come with access to the small museum in the building, stretching across two floors and boasts cool interactive displays about space. Information next to all the exhibits is in both Spanish and English. Entrance is $16,000 COP.
Fernando Botero is renowned for his cartoonish, disproportionate representations of people. In Plaza Botero, the Medellín-born artist’s work is displayed across the square, featuring huge sculptures that can be climbed by kids and are sure to bring a smile to your face (expect tame nudity). Meanwhile, the backdrop of the chequered Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe creates the perfect photo opportunity. The plaza can get very busy on weekends, so it’s best to visit during the week to avoid overwhelming crowds.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Medellín’s botanical gardens. The 13.2-hectare area is packed with lush greenery, a cactus garden, cafes, and a tienda to buy plants. On top of all that, there are also animals freely roaming around the gardens, like giant iguanas, turtles, and colorful fish in the ponds.
Jardín Botánico is one of the best things to do on Sundays due to the number of locals hosting elaborate picnics. Pack a blanket and some decorations, and create your own family party alongside them in the sunshine. Entrance is free.
El Salado Parque de Turístico
For a mini escape from the urban city, nestled in Envigado is Parque El Salado. And, unlike Parque Norte and Explora, Parque El Salado is an actual park! Guests here can swim in the stream, head up the climbing wall, whizz down through the canopy, go on a nature walk or set up a picnic for the afternoon. A whole host of lookout points are dotted around the park showcasing the Medellín skyline, and there’s a surprising wildlife community in the park too – so bring a camera and keep an eye out for exotic birds and even monkeys!
Entrance is $4,500 COP per person, and the canopy activities or climbing wall cost an additional $4,000 – $9,000 COP.
If you’re exploring Medellín with the furriest member of your family, check out the top pet-friendly places in the city.