We found more fun things to share: they’re really obvious to people who live here but might not be quite so obvious to visitors or newbies so I’m going to share anyway.
The railway museum: I didn’t actually visit this myself but Col and the kids had a wonderful time. Almost every week they ask to go back, and without fail we don’t! That isn’t because it’s not worth it, it’s because opening hours aren’t that great for us but it definitely is worth the trip if the hours work for you.
The museum can be found on calle 43 near 48. It’s open 10-2 every day and is super duper fun. Little ones can run and explore the old trains to their hearts’ delight. Col tells me that the kids particularly enjoyed pretending to drive trains, exploring the old carriages and especially examining the carriage that had two loos in it.
Cinemas: Sunday is free kids’ cinema at the Museo del Mundo Maya. They have two showings, one at 1pm and the second at 3.30pm. The cinema is huge but the queue is often long too. They sell popcorn in the little cafe by the cinema. There is parking under the museum, and don’t forget a jumper, it’s freezing in the cinema. This week we watched ‘Sing’ in Spanish. When SG got bored I took her out and we went for a run around. We explored the steps and the awesome statues they have down there: a large Mayan guy, an iguana and a few other bits and pieces. At the bottom of the steps are amazing man-made hillocks for the kids to play on (until the security guards come and move you on because the Mayan Museum does not want any one having too much fun at any point).
Other cinemas are obviously not quite such good value but at 25 pesos a ticket for a regular showing, and 20 pesos on Wednesday afternoons, they won’t break the bank too much. Again, don’t forget a sweater. Oh, we always use Cinemex because they’re close to our house.
Biciruta: We still haven’t technically done this but I hear from other people that it’s lots of fun. On Sundays they close off lots of centro historico and you can rent bikes from Paseo Montejo and join everyone else cycling around town. People say it’s super fun.
Horse and carriage ride: from the main square outside the cathedral you can pick up a horse and carriage for a 45 minutes ride around town. It wasn’t super informative and I didn’t feel massively comfortable letting some poor horse carry us all around town but the kids certainly enjoyed themselves. If I measure kid pleasure against horse discomfort I don’t know if I’d recommend this but it’s an option while in town.
Running around and chasing pigeons: this is a definite win with our kids. The best places to do this have to be Plaza Grande and Santa Ana. The former is always busy but there are also people feeding pigeons there, which increases the opportunity to chase. Santa Ana is a much quieter square so there are fewer pigeons.
Since I appear to have descended into advocating animal cruelty as a way to entertain kids in Merida I’ll stop now, after suggesting that Santa Lucia is also a good place to let kids run when you’re downtown. It has a stage set up in one corner that makes for a good bit of contained play for little ones. Bigger ones have been seen rollerskating on there too. Santa Lucia also sports an enormous ‘love seat’, the famous chairs of Merida that people love to play on.
Over and out. And I do not condone hurting animals. Please remember that.