If you’re looking for a fun packed day for the kids, Mérida style, then let me recommend an itinerary that would fill my kids’ hearts with joy:

After a leisurely breakfast at home, head to the train museum (Museo de Ferrocarriles) and watch as your kids’ eyes pop out of their heads when they realize they really are allowed to clamber all over the old trains. And let’s be honest, what sort of adult also doesn’t want to pretend they’re driving a steam train through the Mexican desert?
Open: 10 am – 2 pm daily. Entrance is $20 pesos for adults and $10 pesos for children.

Take water and snacks or buy them from the store opposite.

If you’re lucky you’ll even get to see a real train trundling down tracks in the middle of the road to the station next door.

After you’re finished here, either walk, taxi, or Uber it to Hotel Casa San Angel at the foot of Paseo de Montejo, for lunch. The café lunches are delicious. If your kids are like mine and struggle to sit still while waiting for food, you can take them inside the hotel to meet the parrots, pet the cat, and check out the courtyard decorations. If this isn’t enough, there is a patch of grass just in front of the hotel that’s plenty big enough for a running game or two.

From here, take a 15-minute walk to Plaza Grande. Your walk will take you past Tags Alpargatas, a small shoe shop (corner of Calle 58 and 49) selling locally made espadrilles and sandals for the whole family, in all sorts of interesting designs. Your kids will love helping choose the best ones. If you’re in town long enough, they can even make a pair to order. Your feet will be the envy of everyone back home!

This is the perfect time to bring out the ice cream! There are three incredible options all near enough to Plaza Grande:

  1. Sorbetería Colón (Calle 61 between 60 and 62) – an institution in Mérida, as it was the first sorbet shop in town. This is right on the square and perfect for families with dairy intolerances.
  2. Pola (Calle 55 between 62 and 64) – a modern ice cream store offering interesting flavors, as well as more traditional options. If you’re around on a Monday, try the pork and beans flavor.
  3. Ke-Rollo (Calle 60, between 55 and 57) – you pick the ingredients and watch as your ice cream is made in front of you.

Once you have your ice cream, little kids will love running around the square and having their photo taken with the Mérida sign, while older ones may enjoy visiting Casa Montejo and seeing how the conquistadors lived in the 16th century. It’s worth remembering that on Saturdays the Maya ball game, Pok ta Pok, is held on the plaza at 8 pm; and on Sundays, the plaza is an open market with plenty of exciting food options.

For supper, if you want to stay in Centro, pick a restaurant in Parque de Santa Lucía so the kids have space to play while you wait. These are ‘nice’ restaurants, but kids are welcome everywhere in México. If you want something aimed specifically for kids, I like La Parrilla on Prolongación Montejo because it has an indoor play area for children and the menu has something for everyone (in fact, of all the child-centered restaurants, it’s my favorite).

Have fun exploring and making your own new memories!

Editorial and photos by Cassie Pearse for Yucatán Today’s use.

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