Parque Explora is Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 interactive activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America. Also, Parque Explora is rated the #2 thing to do in Medellín on TripAdvisor.
While its name is Parque Explora, it isn’t really a park. It’s actually an interactive science museum with over 300 interactive activities. In addition, there is a large aquarium, a terrarium (with frogs, snakes, turtles and other reptiles), an outdoor dinosaur exhibition, a small television studio, a 3D movie auditorium, restaurants, cafes and a souvenir shop.
Kids love all the interactive activities and also the aquarium at Parque Explora. So, you will see many families with kids at Parque Explora. In addition, we included Parque Explora in our list of the 12 best museums in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley.
Note the above photo of Parque Explora is by Averpues.
History of Parque Explora
Parque Explora was designed by Alejandro Echeverri and was part of the major urban development projects in Medellín of former mayor Sergio Fajardo. The urban development projects included the metro cables, the library parks, Jardín Botanico and also the idea of a science and technology park.
A group of architects, designers, scientists and Echeverri began to work on the project. And they did this from an office in western Medellín, which they called “casa explora.”
The team gave life to the four red boxes of Parque Explora that have hundreds of experiments and interactive games inside them and are surrounded by trees, water jets and a huge aquarium. Parque Explora originally opened in 2007.
The Aquarium at Parque Explora
The Explora Aquarium is the most popular attraction at Parque Explora and is typically visited first. But you can chose your route in Parque Explora and don’t have to start at the aquarium.
In the aquarium, there are reportedly 29 tanks inhabited by over 300 species of fresh and salt water. The aquarium has a constructed area of approximately 2,200 square meters (23,680 square feet) of space distributed in three levels.
On the first level is the central fish tank, a large format representation of a flooded Amazonian forest, one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. In this fish tank is more than 320,000 liters (over 84,500 gallons) of water and the largest fish in the aquarium.
Furthermore, in the freshwater area of the aquarium there are over 150 fish species native to Colombia including 41 endemic species (which only exist in Colombia).
Dinosaurs and Interactive Activities at Parque Explora
Outside the red buildings of Parque Explora there are several dinosaurs displayed both upstairs and downstairs.
Also, outside you will find some activities including the popular life-size pin art.
In addition, there are exhibition rooms inside that literally have hundreds of interactive activities. Parque Explora has four main halls in the complex (Mind, Time, Physics, and Live!). The “Mind” exhibition hall is broken into six sections:
- Brains: a world of neurons
- Perceive: the distorted world
- Think: the remembered and planned world
- Communicate: the expressed world
- Dream: the fantastic world
- Experimenting: The world at stake.
An interesting section shows the way great orators in history communicate and it has speeches from several famous historical figures such as Martin Luther King.
And the “Living Physics” hall has more than 40 experiences divided into five zones and two levels. The experiences offered by this space are to relate physical concepts with everyday life and to experience through games related to light, sound, movement and energy.
In addition, the interactive hall “Live! On Stage” is a factory for the creation of stories. Visitors can experiment with their body and explore different media and communications to create graffiti, comics, music, and even their own movies. This is a space that promotes play and learning in more than 25 experiences divided into four zones and two levels.
Also, there is a physical interactive room where your agility/stamina gets tested. Throughout the museum there are all kinds of activities for both individuals and groups.
After exploring Parque Explora, which could take at least a couple hours, there are some restaurants upstairs and also a gift shop.
Parque Explora Entrance Fees
The entrance fee is currently 27,000 pesos per person. Or if over 60 years-old or a student with a student ID, the fee is 24,000 pesos. And children less than 1.1 meters (3 feet 7 inches) can enter for free.
In addition, for a total fee of 40,000 pesos you can enter both Parque Explora and the Planetarium.
Furthermore, residents of an Estrato 1, 2 or 3 barrio can enter Parque Explora for free by presenting an original utility bill from EPM (for up to five people in a family). So, those from less developed parts of the city get access to Parque Explora for free.
On the weekends and on holidays it can get very busy with some long lines. So, it may be better to visit during the week when it is typically much less busy. But there can be some school field trips during the week.
How to Get to Parque Explora
Parque Explora is a popular tourist attraction in Medellín. And it is easy to get to, since it is located next to the Universidad metro station on Line A of the Medellín Metro.
Furthermore, any Medellín taxi or Uber driver in the city will know where Parque Explora is located.
It is also located in a very popular area for tourists. In addition, you’ll find several other tourist attractions nearby including Jardín Botanico, Parque Norte, the Medellín Planetarium and Parque de Los Deseos. So, you can combine a trip to Parque Explora with one or more of these other attractions.
Address: Carrera 52 # 73-74, Medellín
Phone: +57 4 516 8300
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (ticket window closes at 4 pm). Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (ticket window closes at 5 pm). Closed on Monday except when it’s a holiday.
Museums in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 17 different museums in Medellín:
- Museo de Antioquia – the most popular museum in Medellín, worth visiting. It’s best known for a collection of art of Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero.
- Medellín’s Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) – worth a visit with an intriguing mix of exhibitions located in a striking building.
- Parque Explora – Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
- Jardín Botánico – Medellín’s free botanical gardens that is also considered a museum with over 1,000 different living plants on display.
- Planetario de Medellín – Medellín’s Planetarium and space museum that is very popular and worth seeing, particularly with kids.
- Museo El Castillo – Medellín’s beautiful Gothic-style castle that is a museum.
- Museo Cementerio San Pedro – a cemetery that is also a popular museum in Medellín worth visiting. It also has a church with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
- Museo Casa de la Memoria – a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of urban conflict in Medellín and Colombia and is worth seeing to better understand the city and country.
- Museo del Agua – the popular Medellín water museum.
- Casa Museo Otraparte – a hidden gem in Envigado consisting of a museum, cultural space and café dedicated to the life and works of Colombian philosopher Fernando González.
- Museo Universidad Antioquia (MUUA) – a Medellín museum located on the University of Antioquia’s campus with a huge collection of nearly 40,000 archaeological and natural history pieces.
- Museo Casa Gardeliana – a museum located in Medellín that is dedicated to tango music and musician Carlos Gardel.
- Pedro Nel Gómez Casa Museo – a museum located in Aranjuez that is dedicated to the life and works of important Colombian artist Pedro Nel Gómez who is best known for his extensive work as a muralist.
- Museo Etnográfico Miguel Angel Builes – a hidden gem museum in Medellín dedicated to showing the cultural diversity of indigenous and ethnic groups in Colombia.
- Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture – Medellín’s palace in El Centro is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. It’s considered a museum by the city of Medellín but there aren’t very many exhibits to see inside.
- Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas (MEPB) – an insect museum located at the Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas, which is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín.
- Museo de Ciudad – Medellín’s City Museum, which is located next to Pueblito Paisa. This museum has a scale model of the city and a photo exhibit with photos from the 1890s to about 1950 showing the history of the city of Medellín.
The 10 English-language Colombia guidebooks that I have are missing several of these museums. And each guidebook only includes six to nine out of the 17 museums in Medellín we have looked at.
The Bottom Line: Parque Explora
Parque Explora is perfect for families with children, as there are plenty of things for kids to do and it’s very kid-friendly. But kids and adults alike can have a great time here. The bottom line is that it’s really a place for all ages.
This museum is extremely interactive inside and outside with so many interesting activities. And the staff in my experience is very friendly and several speak some English and can demonstrate or answer questions as you go.
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Editors note: updated on January 10, 2019 with new entrance fees to Parque Explora.