Located in the northeast corner of the city, Parque Madero holds three museums, a lovely botanical garden, the city’s theater…even a children’s amusement park. There’s lots to do here, though just sitting under a shade tree is nice on a hot day (and makes for great people-watching too). On your way through the park, check out the busts of some of the country’s most notable leaders, known as the Calzada de Los Hombres Ilustres.
Museo Regional de Chiapas
The Chiapas Regional Museum (Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres s/n, Prolongación 5a Nte., tel. 961/613-4479, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$4) has fascinating exhibits that walk visitors through Chiapanecan history, from the Protoclassic era to the present.
The ground floor—which has an unfortunate resemblance to an airplane hangar—has a superb collection of Maya artifacts, arguably the finest in the state. A separate wing houses an exhibit on the colonial and republican era and boasts a collection of Chiapanecan fine art. Signage is mostly in Spanish, with intermittent English translations.
Museo de Paleontología Eliseo Palacios Aguilera
The Paleontology Museum (Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres s/n, Prolongación 5a Nte., tel. 961/602-0254, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun., US$1) is a modern and welcoming natural-history museum. It focuses on findings in Chiapas, from dinosaur bones and fossilized vegetables to amber deposits.
There is an area where visitors can watch paleontologists at work as well as various hands-on exhibits and screening rooms. It’s an interesting stop, especially if you are traveling with kids. Signage is in Spanish only.
Museo Botánico Dr. Faustino Miranda
Down the Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres sits the Botanical Museum (Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres s/n, Prolongación 5a Nte., tel. 961/612-3622, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Sat., free), a small museum with four permanent exhibits on Chiapas’s plant life. Exhibits include ones on trees, medicinal plants, and flowers. A temporary exhibit changes every three months.
Jardín Botánico Dr. Faustino Miranda
Across the walkway from the museum, take a break from the heat with a stroll through the well-kept botanical garden (Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres s/n, Prolongación 5a Nte., tel. 961/612-3622, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun., free), specializing in regional flora—from tiny orchids to towering trees. A meandering path leads visitors through the lush garden, with signage indicating the scientific and common names of the plant life.
Centro de Convivencia Infantil
An amusement park for small children, the Centro de Convivencia Infantil (Calzada de los Hombres Ilustres s/n, Prolongación 5a Nte., no phone, 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Sun., free) has a host of kiddie rides plus miniature golf, ponies, boat and train rides, and fun extras like face painting and carnival games. Most rides cost US$0.75–1.50 but entrance to the grounds, including the playgrounds, is free.
Not remotely high tech or manicured, this is a good place to take your little ones, especially if they’re still in primary school.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition