Children are important in Santiago. Their laughter and games stand out amid the city’s daily routine. For this reason the Chilean capital offers varied recreational opportunities for young children: some of the activities that young children can engage in safely in the city include amusement parks with modern mechanical attractions; zoos to get to know wildlife, or simply going on bike rides through a beautiful park.
Zoos are one of the favorite outings for children all over the world. In the capital the one that receives the most visits is the one in the Santiago Metropolitan Park, which receives over 800,000 people per year. It is located in 722 hectares of parkland in Cerro San Cristobal, which looms over the capital’s downtown.
It has over 1,000 animals belonging to 158 different species both native to both Chile as well as other countries. The best thing is that visitors are not only able to enjoy themselves, but they can also learn from chats and shows involving Andean condors and guanacos.
Another animal outing is Buin Zoo, located outside Santiago in the municipality of Buin. With endless attractions like its arthropod exhibit, aviary and a small animal zoo called Baby Zoo, this zoo has become a favorite place for families on weekends. During the summer they also offer nighttime visits to observe the behavior of nocturnal animals. A good way to get there is by taking the Metrotren, which leaves Santiago’s Estación Central every half hour and takes only 25 minutes to get there.
Another alternative is Granjaventura, located in the foothills of the Andes in Santiago’s La Reina municipality. There you can engage in direct interaction with farm animals like horses, cows, sheep, donkeys, alpacas, goats, ostriches, rabbits, chickens and ducks. It also offers a birthday celebration service.
Culture for the young ones
The city’s major cultural centers also have alternatives for children, as is the case of the Santiago Library, which has rooms for children up to 8 years of age and that are ideal for playing and learning. The building is downtown across from Quinta Normal,and houses over 300,000 books, along with films, music and computers with internet access. The Santiago Planetarium is another ideal place to take kids. Built in the 1980s, this space has become a classic family and school outing. Educational contents on astronomy and the creation of the universe are presented through educational stories. It is located on the Universidad de Santiago campus and you can get there by Metro.
But there can be no doubt that one of children’s favorite activities in Santiago is the interactive museum Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM), the largest and most modern cultural entertainment facility in Chile. This is not just because of its contents, but because of its original educational proposal, which allows visitors to interact with the diverse exhibits related to mechanics, biology, physics, history, and art. This modern educational complex was inaugurated in 2000 and receives close to 50,000 visitors every month.
The Museo Artequin offers a similar option by providing a space that allows children and adults to approach the world of art through pictorial and sculptural reproductions of western art, interactive games, guided tours and workshops. It is located in the beautiful Pabellón Paris building, a National Monument in the heart of the Parque Quinta Normal.
Roller coasters and bumper cars
If entertainment is what we are talking about, then we cannot leave amusement parks out of this selection. One of the places most visited by Chileans and foreigners alike is Fantasilandia, the largest amusement park in the country. Located on eight hectares inside the traditional Parque O’Higgins, the facility has over 34 rides for the entertainment of adults and children alike, among which the Montaña Galaxy, Extreme Fall, the Bumper Boats, and the House of Horror stand out.
Another alternative are the indoor entertainment centers Happyland, which can be found in the country’s main shopping malls. The main attractions that they offer the little ones and not-so-little ones who want to have an afternoon of family fun includes bumper cars, mechanical rides and video games, simulators, and bowling.
For its part, Mampato is a safe choice for children to enjoy a pleasant day with diverse light games especially designed for children under 10. Some of the 16 rides that you can find at this center with three separate branches in the capital include the house of horror, the Ferris wheel and bumper cars. Birthdays can also be held here prior reservation.
Karting is a good choice for your children to live their recreational afternoon to the maximum, where they can experience the vertigo and adrenaline of professional racecar driving. You can practice it at GoKarts, located in the municipality of Las Condes, or else Pro Kart, which is in Terrazas de lo Matta, part of the same municipality.
Now, if you want something more extreme, you can run around with paint guns and evade your enemies in paint ball in a marked area outfitted with trenches, barricades and different types of natural obstacles to hold battles with compressed air guns and paint bullets. Skill, agility, speed and teamwork are fundamental to defeating your opponent here.
The company Wargames offers this service in the municipalities of Lo Barnechea and La Florida, or wherever you want, thanks to their portable equipment.
This post is also available in Spanish