Even as a longtime resident, Mérida never ceases to surprise me with all of the free cultural events it offers each week. We just recently discovered one that’s been here all along, and it’s at one of our favorite parks.
Parque de las Américas is spread over four city blocks in one of Mérida’s oldest, most beautiful neighborhoods. My family and I have collected so many good memories in this park over the years, but as much as we know it, we’ve mostly overlooked the building that sits in the grassy area bordered by walkways and trees.
Centro Cultural José Martí
Centro Cultural José Martí (Cultural Center) is a library that at one time mainly stored books but has evolved into a vibrant creative hub that hosts a variety of events such as book presentations, art exhibits and workshops. It was finally brought to my attention that they have a weekly event called “Sábados Infantiles”. Every Saturday morning, there are two free workshops for children: an arts and crafts activity at 9 am, and a science experiment activity at 10:15 am. Both are tailored for kids ages 6 to 12 years old.
Of course we were running late, so my family arrived as the first activity was ending. The teacher welcomed us in with an apologetic smile and assured us that the next workshop would begin shortly. As I admired the art exhibit lining the walls, my kids admired the craft they were finishing up which appeared to have featured rainbow scratch paper. I knew they were desperate to join them. Thankfully the class ended quickly and they went to play outside while I got to talk with the teacher, Deyby Sierra. He’s been teaching these classes for fifteen years and was enthusiastic to tell me about his plans for the projects coming up, noting that most of the crafts will correspond to the month’s holidays and festivities.
Before long, more families had filtered in and it was time for the science workshop. I took a seat with the other parents as the kids sat down at the long center table. The science teacher, Wilbert Cámara Cruz, walked in through the large front doors with energy and an armful of supplies. He noticed right away that my kids were new and welcomed them in, and then got started passing out materials. Every child was provided with all the supplies and instructions they needed to put together a string telephone, and when they were finished he taught them the basics of sound and vibrations. The kids tested out their phones with calls that must have been silly because the room was bubbling with laughter.
You can pre-register by email, but they won’t ask for names when you arrive. The teacher said if you get there on time you’ll have a spot. They have capacity for twenty kids, and it does occasionally get full. A bathroom is located behind the front desk.
This is a fun weekly workshop in a community park that makes for a perfect Saturday morning, and is sure to help your family feel connected to the culture and tradition of Mérida!
Centro Cultural José Martí
Parque de las Américas
Av. Colón x Calle 20, García Ginerés, Mérida
Sat. 9 – 10 am / Art Workshop
Sat. 10 – 11 am / Science Workshop
Editorial by Monica Starling
Writer, architect and mom, living in the Yucatán since 2007.
Photography by Monica Starling for use in Yucatán Today.
Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES