Do you want to explore the Puuc region but you’re not convinced that your kids will enjoy a day full of archeological site exploration? Don’t sweat it! My family and I decided to enjoy a day trip to Southern Yucatán; we visited Kabáh, the Choco-Story eco-museum, and the Museo de las Momias (Museum of Mummies) in Santa Elena: a highly recommended combination with a little something for everyone in the family. Here’s how it went.
Museo de las Momias
We began with snacks. Obviously the epic journey from Mérida to Santa Elena (just over an hour) took it out of the kids and we had to feed them, lest they faint from hunger in the tiny two-room, but highly informative museum. The museum displays a group of “mummies” found in the 1980s, when the Maní church was remodelled.
Once snacked up the kids had the requisite energy to march around the museum, inform us that they needed to use the bathroom, beg for money to spend in the gift shop (denied), and march out again. Their dad and I took a little longer, read the informative panels (Maya, Spanish, and English), and examined the mummies. After, we sat and watched local kids flying their kites outside the church.
This museum is very small but the information is good and the museum is well cared for. It perhaps isn’t worthy of a visit in its own right but it pairs well with archaeological sites and chocolate.
Kabáh, one of the archaeological sites that make up the Puuc Route and the closest to Uxmal, was occupied from 700 BCE to 1000 CE. The site includes temples, palaces, and residential homes. The restoration work is impressive, and there’s plenty of space for kids to run around; in some cases, climbing is even allowed. The Puuc architecture will leave everyone amazed, that’s a guarantee. Its distinctive arches, in particular, take my breath away every time I see them. Oh, by the way! If you’re visiting Yucatán (or reside here), you definitely won’t want to miss exploring the other sites that make up the Puuc Route.
Choco-Story is part museum, part animal refuge, and part cultural exhibition center. My kids always love a visit to this outdoor site, for two reasons primarily: they get to feed the monkeys and then they get fed hot chocolate. On this trip they, of course, fed the monkeys, watched the Maya ceremony to Chaac (the rain god), raced through the museum sections (they’ve been here many times before), marveled at the variety of trees growing, picked out a chocolate bar each in the shop and then played for hours on the enormous and wonderful tree at the front of the museum. They also decided they liked my chocolate bar better than theirs and kept asking to just “try” mine. Rude.
Conclusions. The kids had a wonderful day exploring. They learned about the history and geography of the region and tied it to what they’d learned at school. We examined carvings, spotted iguanas, marveled over trees and flowers, and were all dirty and exhausted by the end of our day. What more could we ask for?
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.
Photography by Cassie Pearse and Mario Arnal for its use in Yucatán Today.
Museo de las Momias, Santa Elena
Calle 18, Santa Elena
FB: Museo Santa Elena Yucatan
Every day. 9 am – 5 pm
Admission: $20 pesos residents, $40 pesos non-residents. Children under 3 have free access.
999 944 4068
Every day. 8 am – 5 pm
Admission: $75 pesos adults, children under 13 have free access. Residents free on Sundays.
999 289 9914
FB: Choco-Story Mexico
Every day. 9 am – 7.30 pm
Admission: $180 pesos adults, $80 pesos children (6 -12), $120 pesos students and people over 60.
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