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San Jose Cultural Attractions
National Museum of Costa Rica
The National Museums is located in the former Bellavista military headquarters, scene of many battles. In 1949, the army was abolished and the museum was established. Inside the museum are a butterfly garden, an exhibit hall and a permanent national history exhibit that features the development of Costa Rica from to the present and a pre-Columbian chamber, which showcase ancient cultures prior to the Spanish Conquest in 1,500 AD.
- Location: San Jose, on 17 Street, between Central and Second Avenues, on the Cuesta de Moras, next to Democracy Plaza.
- Hours: Closed on Mondays.Open Tuesday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Website / www.museocostarica.go.cr
The National Theater is an historic national monument built in 1890. It is the principal cultural center dedicated to promoting, organizing and programming high quality entertainment, artistic and cultural shows. Its main objective is to promote theater arts and music to help increase Costa Ricas cultural offerings.
- Location: Second Avenue and Central Street, First and Third Streets.
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Website / www.teatronacional.go.cr
The only museum dedicated to pre-Columbian jade, the Jade Museum houses the largest jade collection on exhibit. This archaeological museum also features artifacts carved in stone and ceramics.
- Location: Lower level of the headquarter offices of the National Insurance Institute (Seventh Avenue and Ninth and Eleventh Streets)
- Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Website / www.Portal.ins-cr.com/Social/MuseoJade/
Melico Salazar Theater
Melico Salazar Theater is one of the most important artistic spaces in the country. High quality music, theater, dance, multicultural events, both traditional and contemporary, are shown here.
- Location: Downtown San Jose on Second Avenue
- Hours: Varying according to the current show.
- Website / www.teatromelicosalazar.go.cr
The Children's Museum is housed in the former Central Jail, which was later converted into the Costa Rican Center for Culture and Science. Many sections of the building are part of the Historic Buildings Trust of Costa Rica.
- Location: Fourth Street, Ninth Avenue.
- Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 to 5:00 p.m.
- Website / www.museocr.com
The Amusement Park features a wide variety of mechanic and electric rides for young and old, as well as a fantastic "old town" representing buildings and environs from early 20th Century Costa Rica.
- Location: 2 kilometers west of Mexico Hospital, La Uruca.
- Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Website / www.parquediversiones.com
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum features an extraordinary gold collection from the pre-Columbian peoples of Costa Rica. The exhibit showcases the uses and functions of the gold artifacts, the manufacturing process, as well as daily life of the pre-Columbian peoples. The collection is made up of 1,600 gold artifacts dating from 500 through 1500 A.D. The museum store features items inspired by pre-Columbian art.
- Location: Below the Cultural Plaza, Central and Second Avenues, Fifth Street.
- Hours: Open Monday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website / www.museodelbancocentral.org
The Insect Museum features a million insect specimens, collected throughout various international and national scientific research projects. The museum offers guided tours and workshops for primary and secondary school students.
- Location: School of Musical Arts, Rodrigo Facio University City, San Pedro.
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The National Center for Culture (CENAC for its Spanish initials) features the Center for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage, which is dedicated to preserving cultural and historic values in the urban architecture, main traditional expressions and popular culture. Its objective is to strengthen Costa Rica's national identity.
- Location: San Jose, next to the National Park.
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Website / www.musarco.go.cr
Simon Bolivar National Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Small zoo featuring Asian, African and Costa Rican animals, and a large variety of vegetation, all properly identified.
- Location: 300 meters north and 175 meters northeast from the Morazan Park kiosk in San Jose.
- Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m (Except December-February and July, 9:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Website / www.fundazoo.org/zoo.php