<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >An Astronomy-filled Weekend in Mérida</span>

An Astronomy-filled Weekend in Mérida

10 july 2024
5 min. de lectura

A weekend full of astronomy in Mérida! Planetarium in Mérida, free activities, gastronomy, Museum of Natural History, Astronomy for Kids in Mérida: Planetarium and Museum of Natural History.

Did you know that the Maya were expert sky-watchers, careful observers of the sun, planets, and stars? By tracking the rising and setting of celestial bodies in relation to their pyramids, they could understand patterns, measure time, and even predict solar and lunar eclipses. Knowing this makes a visit to the planetarium in Yucatán seem even more fitting! A visit to the Arcadio Poveda Ricalde Planetarium in Mérida will not only teach you about the latest advancements in space exploration but will also allow you to be part of an ancient fascination with astronomy. It offers a unique and engaging way to learn about space science and the universe.



Mérida’s planetarium


2408 Centro Cultural Olimpo Astronomía Mérida by Monica Starling


Named after a Yucatán-born astronomer, the Arcadio Poveda Ricalde Planetarium in Mérida offers free monthly activities and events, fostering an interest in science and astronomy in all its visitors. It is located inside the Olimpo Cultural Center, adjacent to Plaza Grande. A fairly small venue, the planetarium can accommodate up to 78 people in comfortable, semi-reclining seats that are arranged to provide everyone with a panoramic view. The dome overhead functions as a screen where documentaries can be projected. Unfortunately, the projections are temporarily suspended while they acquire the right equipment to get it operating again. However, the planetarium hosts other science-related activities such as guest lectures and telescope observations that provide opportunities to engage with experts in the field. Attending these events can contribute to the continued vitality of this incredible venue!



Astronomy talks

The astronomy talks, presented in Spanish, are held twice a month on Saturdays from 6 pm to 7 pm. They delve into topics such as solar storms, meteor showers, eclipses, space exploration, and constellations. The slideshow-with-narration format creates a classroom-like atmosphere that is geared toward older kids and adults. My ten-year-old stayed interested the whole time, but my seven-year-old got restless.

We arrived a few minutes early to the planetarium and made the most of our time by browsing through the bookstore next door. Upon returning to the front desk, we were escorted through the courtyard where we could appreciate the beautiful architecture, then down some stairs to the entrance of the planetarium. The dark, dome-shaped theater is air-conditioned, making it a good escape from the heat. The hour-long talk was packed with information about the different techniques used to observe the sun. At the end of the lecture, the speaker invited everyone to join in observing the sun through a telescope the next day. The kids were of course excited!



Telescope observations in Mérida


2408 Museo de Historia Natural Astronomía Mérida Charla Astronomía Sol by Monica Starling


The next morning, we made our way to the telescope event, which was held at the Natural History Museum, a historical building downtown beside the zoo. An expert from the night before was waiting out front, along with a large telescope aimed at the sun. We took turns looking through, the intense brightness subdued by the intricate apparatus within the telescope that we learned about in the talk the night before. We got to observe sunspots, ask questions, and learn more about the sun. This would be an incredible way to witness a solar eclipse, so we plan on keeping an eye out for this event! 



Mérida’s Natural History Museum

Afterward, we took a walk through the small Natural History Museum. It consists of six rooms for permanent exhibitions and one for temporary exhibitions. It only takes about 15 minutes to explore, and the wildlife and dinosaur displays are a hit with the kids. The museum also has a "universe room" which features a moon exhibit and captivating images from outer space. This was the perfect ending to our astronomy-filled weekend!



(Inside the Centro Cultural de Mérida Olimpo)
Calle 62 x 61, Centro, Mérida 
FB: Planetario Arcadio Poveda Ricalde
Tue. - Sun. 11 am - 5 pm 
Free admission


Museo de Historia Natural
Calle 59 #648 x 84, Centro, Mérida 
Tel. 999 924 0994
FB: Museo de Historia Natural, Mérida Yucatán
Tue. - Sun. 9 am - 2 pm
Free admission



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Monica Starling

Author: Monica Starling

Writer, architect and mom, living in the Yucatán since 2007.

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