Do you have the whole family at home? Are the kids driving you crazy and you need them to get out to burn off some energy? Or are you just looking for a weekend family outing? Let me give you some of the favorite activities that our family does.
Each and every Sunday from 8 am to 12 pm, except for special occasions (notices are on FB: AyuntaMERIDA) one lane of the Paseo Montejo is closed off to traffic for a fun outing on all kinds of wheels—bicycles, tricycles, skates, wagons, skateboards, etc. The route extends from the Monumento de la Bandera, the Paseo Montejo, passing by the Plaza Grande (in Mérida’s Centro) to the Ermita de Santa Isabel. You don’t have to do the entire route.
You will find families with little children, some that are with their grandparents, people with their dogs, groups of friends, and even groups of Scouts singing as they move along. If you don’t have a bike, there are various places along the route that rent them. There are various types including bicycles built for two and even tricycles all at reasonable prices.
This activity is so popular with my family we go with our parents, friends, and/or cousins.
This is an obligatory stop all year long. As you know, Yucatán has almost 365 days of sun and heat. The Malecón in Progreso is the place to be any day of the year. Beach, sand, kids playing, local candies, and at night, a small fair. With all these attractions, what kid is going to say they don’t want to go to the beach? Plan to take a change of clothing even if you aren’t planning on taking a swim. If your kids are anything like my nieces and nephews, they always “trip” and end up wet!
My thing is incredible vistas and Progreso has some of the most spectacular, iconic sunsets possible. I suggest you have lunch at one of the great restaurants on the Malecón, all of which have premium sea views, or a beach club, and then when the sun starts to set, head to the pier area. On the way, you’ll see sculptures and possibly live musicians, and finally, the Ferris wheel. By the way, the Meteorite Museum is right on the Malecón.
It is possible that all the little ones will go crazy with all of the food carts that they see on this outing. We suggest you give the kids a budget and let them practice administrating their money.
Fairs and exhibitions
Ninety percent of my family’s outings have to do with “curiosity about this or that theme,” which can be anything from a shoe fair in Ticul, to a handcraft fair, to a gastronomy event, to name a few. Mérida is always having fairs and exhibitions both in the parks and in the Convention Center Siglo XXI. I can assure you, even the exhibitions with machinery and classic cars are going to fascinate the kids as they gawk at things with their “wow” and “ahhhh.”
If you are open to the idea of an excursion, there are many fairs throughout the year in many of the villages and towns in the interior of the state. Check the official page from each town or our article: Calendar of Fiestas and Fairs in Yucatán.
There are two parks in Mérida that are the kings of family activities and these are the Parque de las Américas and the Parque de la Alemán. Each has its own style of magic and I love both equally.
The first, Las Americas, is actually made up of four blocks: one with an acoustic shell, another with the José Marti library, the third with a spectacular fountain with Neo-Maya details, and the last: a children’s area with trampolines, stroller and little car rentals, sandboxes, and handrails. In the afternoons and on Sundays, food carts are set up with a delicious variety of street food. Check out the Marquesitas and the Esquites. How to know which one is better? The length of the line waiting to be served is always a good indication. If you are lucky, there could be a bazaar or a small fair while you are visiting.
In the Parque de la Alemán, a block large park, there is a small fair with the traditional marble game, plus an area with kids’ rides and a merry-go-round. This is where the kids can burn off energy. If you or a member of your family like to skate, there is an area dedicated to skating so go ahead and enjoy. Looking for some Marquesitas? My favorites are the ones I eat at this park.
Have I mentioned that the heat here in Mérida is extraordinary? If you can’t escape to the beach or a pool, I understand and suggest you visit a mall. They are second best with their air-conditioning plus all the options of things to do. My little relatives love to go to the Plaza Galerías (a mall), which has a cinema, a food court, and its famous ice-skating rink. It also has a wonderful bookstore so that your little reader can spend hours there leafing through the books.
La Isla, while it does not have a library (I’m waiting), has all the installations necessary so that everyone can have fun…and it is pet-friendly! I have seen more than one kid contemplating the fish sculptures in the fountain, running from here to there saying “hello” to the many dogs, or climbing the different outdoor rides and sculptures that have lake views. Maybe it is not right to say this, but the outdoor rides and things can also support the twenty-plus-year-olds…so if you have a little niece or nephew, he or she won’t be the only one having fun! I am speaking from experience (wink, wink).
Extra: The Yucatán Symphonic Orchestra and El Centro
My mother was a very cultured person and when I say “very” I mean very! Each and every Sunday was reserved for exploring the Historical Center of Mérida. This translated into me. Since I was very young, I learned the fun of checking out all the hidden treasures in downtown Mérida, the nooks and crannies, antique stores, going to children’s matinee at the Olimpo, or a visit to listen to the Yucatán Symphonic Orchestra. Nowadays, the OSY is housed in the Palacio de la Muscia, an interactive museum that in itself entertains both the young and the young at heart.
Editorial by Olivia Camarena Cervera
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Cassie Pearse, Olivia Camarena Cervera, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, and Claudia Améndola for use in Yucatán Today.
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