A Bilingual Family Travels Part 2
When the opportunity arises, take it! Raising bilingual children takes many forms. Travel is one of them. As children travel they are exposed to language, culture, and food. All these immersive experiences contribute to their developing brain. Here I share the places we visited on our trip to Mexico City.
1. El Ángel de la Independencia
Visiting this monument is a must whenever visiting CDMX. A walk down El Paseo de la Reforma, and a rush across the street to be able to sit at its steps is well worth it. The Angel is sitting high above watching over the city (celebrations, protests, tourists, quinceañeras, and everyday life) commemorating Mexico's independence on September 16, 1810. My children perhaps do not know what "independence" means when talking about a country but nevertheless, they were amazed at how high up that angel was.
2. El Bosque de Chapultepec
Visiting one of the largest parks in the western hemisphere with lots to look at, places to visit, and many many photo opportunities. This is where you will also likely be able to hit lots of museums focusing on many different themes. You can walk as you enjoy an agua fresca or sit and enjoy the view. We enjoyed an art exhibit celebrating 30 years of children's rights. It was fun reading each right to the kids and explaining to them what it meant.
3. Museo Nacional de Antropología
The largest and most visited museum in Mexico and the 8th largest museum in the world! If you enjoy history, this is the place to soak it all in. Each exhibit hall is filled with numerous artifacts and art. Tickets are inexpensive and children under the age of 3 are free. I must admit, visiting this museum with children can be difficult. Because there is so much to see the children need lots of breaks. The museum has beautiful outdoor areas including a large water fall that mesmerized the children. Pointing out different artifacts to the children and telling them about it, even if it was a brief explanation, allowed them to share my excitement of being there. Their gift shop is filled with great books and activities for children with the focus on Mexico's history and legends of Aztec Gods. https://www.mna.inah.gob.mx
4. Papalote Museo del Niño
Every exhibit is intended for children to learn, explore communication skills, and collaborate with their family members and other children. Kids get to do all of this through science, technology, and art. Every corner you turn is a new opportunity for hands on learning. The best part of all, my children were 100% immersed in Spanish with activities that were highly engaging. Every museum volunteer and staff member spoke to my children in Spanish. In play areas (foam blocks, kitchen, grocery store etc) my children were interacting with other children who spoke the language. I could see how my kids weren't hesitant to speak with others because they learned fairly quickly that they would be understood and they would be able to understand their new friends. I highly suggest you visit this museum with your entire family. https://papalote.org.mx
5. La Villa y Basílica de la Virgen de Guadalupe
For our family, this visit was a religious one. We are Catholic and believe and honor our Virgen de Guadalupe. We pray to her, have her image throughout our home, and celebrate her day every 12th of December. It was an honor for me to be able to visit this holy site for the first time with my children.
6. La Casa Azul ( Frida Kahlo Museum)
My daughter can identify Frida in a picture, so being in her house was as exciting for her as it was for me. The house itself is the attraction here. Yes, there is lots of art by Frida on its walls, but walking through this place was magical.
This is the one of the few remains of the water canals build by the Aztecs. Traveling on a Trajinera through these canals was very beautiful and at times even peaceful. As you cruise in your colorful Trajinera, food vendors, local artisans, and music float past you. We had an entire Trajinera to ourselves and were amazed by the views and the festive vibe. The children enjoyed their boat ride and felt like the center of attention as we were served our lunch while listening to a marimba trio play Un Poco Loco from the movie Coco.
This majestic site predates the Aztec Empire, nevertheless, it was used and named by the Aztecs. Teotihuacan means the "place where Gods are created." This beautiful town is home of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. We were fortunate enough to be able to climb both pyramids. Our youngest was carried up, but our older one was able to climb up with some assistance. Once we reached the top the kids were in awe of how high we were and I could tell our oldest could feel the energy. She began making loud jaguar noises mimicking those made by the whistles sold by local artisans down below. This was a sight to admire for the entire family.
9. El Zócalo
This was the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Tenochitlan means the bellybutton or center, the perfect name given by the Aztecs to refer to the place they considered to be the center of the universe. You can visit the ruins of El Templo Mayor, the Cathedral (build using materials from the temples), and El Palacio Nacional where the Mexican president currently resides among lots lots more. As you walk around in the main plaza you are surrounded by Aztec dancers, Folkorico performers, and vendors. Not to mention the many bookstores surrounding El Zócalo filled with inexpensive workbooks and books for any age. By the time we visited I knew we were over the 50 pound limit for our luggage and just couldn't purchase anymore books or learning materials.
For visiting Mexico City for just a week, we were able to visit and learn about so much history. Our entire family was immersed in the language, culture, and food. Our experience may have been a version of "express tourism" however our time together was beautiful.