Last weekend we left it too late to go anywhere far from Santiago, just we chilled in Parque Bicentenario, Vitacura. If you’re new to Santiago, you need to check it out.
It’s a huge park, with lovely views and lots of space. Maybe it’s me, but somehow it seems a little more chic than other parks in town. On the whole it’s rather manicured and very clean.
That doesn’t mean to say it’s not kid friendly. It’s fab for children…
There is also an artificial, but beautiful lake with all sorts of birds, fish and plants to see. I’m not a fan of zoos, but these animals are well looked after and seemed to have plenty of space. Be sure to pack plenty of 100 peso coins on you for the bird feed.
Near the birds and fish there is a great restaurant, Mestizo with an outdoor setting area for proper meals, snacks or drinks. (Does anyone bear to order fish though, I wonder?!)
Move further along the park and here’s plenty of space to run, enjoy a picnic, play football or generally just lounge about (27 hectares to be exact).
Continue along and you’ll come to some large playgrounds for preschoolers and also for older kids.
Go further, past the municipality office and take a moment to reflect in the oratory to the Virgin Mary. It’s rather hidden away, so either ask around or look for the signposts.
The memorial was erected in memory of nine school girls who lost their lives while on a school trip in northern Chile in 2008. The circular roof opening lets in nine metres of light, there are nine larger holes in the concrete platform for offerings and candles, and the tree to the centre is a Magnolia tree, the only with nine leaves for each of its flowers.
This is not a tourist attraction, but a religious site and since I found out the meaning behind the memorial I urge my kids to be extra respectful when we sit here. It’s a very poignant, very beautiful, very calming space. I always try to come here before we head home.
Need to know:
There are lots of parking spaces all along the edge of the park on the roadside, at the Vitacura municipality office and by Mestizo restaurant, however it still gets busy on weekends and school holidays in particular. Be cautious walking around after dark – like any park area at night, it’s not safe. Don’t leave valuables in your car.
As mentioned, take lots of 100 peso coins for the bird feed dispensers. Feeding the animals keeps our boys entertained for ages.
Pack sunscreen and hats too. Shaded areas are rather limited.
I’m not sure how many actually do it, but strictly speaking if you want to hold a party, e.g. a kid’s birthday, you need authorisation by emailing email@example.com
Dogs on leads are allowed. There is a dog exercise park where they can be let off their leads too.
For more, visit the website at www.vitacura.cl