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La Jolla Mom

Mexico City with Kids: The National Museum Of Anthropology

BY La Jolla Mom

Mexico City is paradise for history buffs but regardless of your age or interests, the one place you must visit while there is the National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologica). It’s home to the world’s largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts from pre-Hispanic Mayan civilizations to the Spanish conquest. It’s the most visited museum in the entire country.

Kids seem to find the gory aspects of Aztec and Mayan history intriguing and resonate to a lot of the animal carvings and religious symbolism around the sun and the moon that can be seen here. Plus, it’s awesome to know they’ll open the pages of a school textbook someday and see these artifacts on the pages, if they haven’t already.

Significant Archeological & Anthropological Finds = Kid Cool

Above, my daughter is standing next to the Aztec calendar of the sun or Piedra del Sol which was excavated in the Zocala area of Mexico City in 1790. This is one of my favorite Instagram photos to date.

At 12 feet wide, not only is it massive but the attention to detail is staggering considering its age. Experts believe this stone shows that Aztecs did have some knowledge of geometry based on the carvings. In the middle of the stone calendar is the Aztec god of the sun while some of the glyphs or carvings on the outside represent months.

People come here just to see this because it’s so historically significant. It’s in a room full of amazing pieces–in total, there are over 600,000 artifacts in the museum. Here is another that I Instagrammed.

National Museum of Anthropology Mexico City kids

Easy To Navigate

Not a history buff? Tour it with an audio guide. A self-tour is easy because it’s laid out in a circular format divided up into salons. Each salon showcases a different region or culture including Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Olmec, and Maya. A courtyard in the middle of the museum showcases a giant umbrella cascading water down the sides.

Fortunately, we don’t need a guide a places like this. My husband was a history major at Harvard, has a photographic memory (unless it’s chore-related, then forget it) and is an animated storyteller. But even without him, my daughter would have loved it here with all of the stone animal-like statues and colorful murals. We came on a weekday when there were tons of school children seated in various salons enthusiastically scribbling notes as a docent spoke. How lucky they are.

Fabulous Location And Other Details

With a young child in tow, an hour or two is all you need. The National Museum of Anthropology is located in gorgeous Chapultepec Park just a few minutes walk from the zoo and about a 20-minute walk from Four Seasons Hotel Mexico, D.F. where we stayed.

On Sundays, museums are free to residents so avoid any museum (if possible) on this day because they are crowded. On Mondays, the museum is closed, as are most of the museums in town. Plan your visit to Mexico City around these days, however, on Mondays, Teotihuacan is still open so you can take a half-day or day trip out there.

Bottom Line: Go

This is easily one of the best museums in the world we’ve visited yet and probably will ever visit. It’s a perfect size with excellent flow and high value, historically important exhibits lining every single room. My 5-year-old was engaged the entire time which surprised me—a lot.

 

National Museum of Anthropology
(Museo Nacional de Antropologia)
Avenida Paseo de la Reforma
Chapultepec Polanco
Mexico City 11560
Mexico

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11 thoughts on “Mexico City with Kids: The National Museum Of Anthropology

  1. Our little one is not quite at the age yet when she would be fascinated by museums, but I can’t wait to take her to these kind of attractions in couple of years time! And yes, I do love the first image too, your daughter standing by the Aztec calendar really gives a good idea of the size of the artifact!

    1. We were lucky that is wasn’t crowded otherwise it would have been an impossible photo to take. Thanks again for stopping by Satu!

  2. Looks really nice! I love museums with a nice flow, that appeal to younger crowds, and have decent audio tours for those of us who don’t have our own historian traveling with us.

    1. Me too. I forgot to add in that the reason why I think kids love it is that rather than stuff just lining the walls behind glass, though they can’t touch it, they can walk fully around some of these statues for 360 degree fun. Thanks for stopping by, Ann!

  3. Looks like a great museum- perfect to capture the interest and imagination of elementary school kids. I keep hearing more and more about how great Mexico City is– need to make a trip there one of these days.

    1. Hi Elena. I would highly recommend it. Of course, the food was out of this world, but it was one of our best trips ever and I never once felt unsafe, though security at the Four Seasons is extremely tight. There is plenty for kids to do from Chapultepec Park to this museum to the Children’s museum to admiring street art…we will go back soon, I think!

  4. Katie, these are great photos. So interesting. I love to expose my son to this type of travel, and that’s why I say that travel is like a big open classroom. Thanks for linking up with us this week.

    Leigh

    1. As soon as she starts studying Aztec and Mayan civilizations, we’re going to go back. I love hands-on learning! Thanks for stopping by, Leigh!

  5. I love these photos, and it looks like the type of place my kids would absolutely love! I agree about the hands on learning, traveling truly teaches kids so much more than you could ever learn from the books.

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