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Traveling With Kids: Monterrey, Mexico

Updated on July 31, 2007

When you think of Mexico, you may think of beaches and never-ending guacamole. Chances are if you're planning a family vacation, you'll be staying at a resort or at least in a tourist area. However, with so many Americans working in Monterrey, many families find they have a reason to visit this non-resort city with their children.

Monterrey Basics

The first thing you need to know is that there is no beach in Monterrey. So get over it. If you're visiting in summer, a pool is very important! Monterrey is set in a valley of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is basically sitting in a bowl and this industrial city collects smog just Los Angeles.

Americans will appreciate the few Starbucks, IHOP, and Wal-Mart stores, but don't count on people speaking English. Although most educated people know our language, Monterrey is no tourist spot and the locals don't cater to foreigners.

Take A Hike

If you like to get outdoors, you'll want to check out Chipinque. This park is on the northern face of the Sierra Madre mountain range overlooks San Pedro and Monterrey. It's about a 15-minute drive from downtown Monterrey and just up the road from San Pedro, where many American business people rent homes. There are amazing views of the city along the hiking trail, as well as some pretty spectacular butterfly sightings.

Take plenty of water and walk as far as you want on the trail. Then drive to the top where there is a playground. I would steer clear of the Mexican "popsicles" they sell at the visitors' center unless you like your frozen treats with salt and jalapeno.

Serengeti Safari Rocks!

By far the best thing we did on our Monterrey adventure was to visit the Serengeti Safari Zoo Park. The highlight of this park is the open safari ride through their wildlife reserve. You get to see camels, elephants, and monkeys up close. They even sell food before you get on the bus so the animals come even closer! There are lots of laughs on this one and you'll definitely want to have a camera. We stuck around for a while and explored the rest of the park, but the real fun was the bus ride. However, we did enjoy a lovely little hike through the natural gardens that we affectionately dubbed Death March 2007. Make sure you know how far and how steep of a walk you're getting into before taking off with little ones.

More Things to Do

Visit Plaza Sesamo Water Park

Everybody loves Big Bird. Parque Fundidora is built around an old foundry where steel was produced for the first time in Latin America in 1903. The foundry closed in 1986, and the grounds are now used as gardens and recreational space. Parque Fundidora hosts cultural and sporting activities, but young kids will love you for taking them to Plaza Sesamo (Sesame Place) where they are greeted by familiar characters in an amusement/water park.

The water slides are visible from the main highway through the city and are a big draw. However, the day we visited they were mostly out of order. The wave pool is a blast, but you may want to pick up some of those swim shirts to protect young skin from the strong sun. They don't allow cover-ups or t-shirts in the pool. It's a little surprising to find beer sold at a family park, but hey - it's a party!

Alfa Cultural Center

The Alfa Cultural Center science museum is made up of five levels, which hold permanent exhibits including interactive science experiments and Mexican prehistoric art. There is also an IMAX theater in the center of the building. An artistic rendition of the cosmos resides in another building and the grounds boast an aviary with over 200 birds of 15 different species. Kids will love the playground where they can explore concepts of physics with their own two hands, eyes, and ears.

Comments

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  • profile image

    CaracolPlaza 8 years ago

    Hi there. I've been meaining to take the family to Monterrey, but I was concerned about violence and stuff. I'm guessing Monterrey is very safe though right? Common sense pravails and all that?

  • justinskier profile image

    justinskier 8 years ago

    Thanks! Are there timeshares there?

  • profile image

    Hacienda Hotels Mexico 8 years ago

    Thanks for the article. I've been meaning to travel to Monterrey for a while now and there's some great info here.

  • John Alan profile image

    John Alan 8 years ago from Florida

    Thank you for the tour of Monterrey. I feel like I got a good grasp of what to expect if I were to ever go there.

  • ReginaSunderland profile image

    ReginaSunderland 10 years ago from Las Vegas

    Thank you for a great Article! You are very insightful.

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