Colombia’s cosmopolitan capital is jam-packed with fun, educational, and richly rewarding things to see and do for the whole family. Plus, this nation boasts a warm culture in which children come first. Here’s are some favorite activities and venues that families with kids of all ages will love.

Good planning is critical to helping ensure that your family excursion to Colombia is all it can be. As you’d expect of a capital city like Bogotá—populated by some 10 million people—the choices are seemingly endless. That’s why we make it easy for you with the following 10 places to thrill parents and children alike. For further information, see Tips for Traveling with Kids in Colombia.

#1 Ride the Cable Car to Cerro de Monserrate

Cable car atop Cerro de Monserrate

Bogotá is a sprawling city of 10 million people, and nowhere provides as sensational an appreciation of its vastness as Cerro de Monserrate—the 10,335-foot mountain rising dramatically to the south. A ride on the funicular (cable car) to the summit makes a great first stop for a grand vista of Bogotá laid out below.

At the top, there are landscaped gardens and a church to explore, plus two excellent restaurants and a snack bar in case you get hungry. The paths are steep and paved with cobbles, and therefore not suitable for strollers. It's hugely popular on weekends, so get there early, although sunset at the top is an unforgettable experience. 

#2 Museo del Oro

Pre-Columbian death mask in the Museo del Oro

This is Bogotá’s most popular venue and for good reason. The world-class Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) dazzles everyone who visits, regardless of age. More than 34,000 pre-Columbian gold pieces—categorized by distinct cultures—are displayed within massive vaults of the Banco de la República, in a striking Modernist building on Parque Santander.

Don’t miss the intricate Balsa Muisca—a 19-inch-long golden raft showing a cacique (chief) and his attendants. Life-size caciques and warriors are also depicted here, adorned with gold amulets, bracelets, breastplates, and headpieces. The last of the venues before your exit is the circular Sala de la Ofrenda (the Offering Room). You enter an unlit room, the doors close, and you stand in darkness. Then, haunting pre-Columbian music begins as the wraparound glass walls light up, displaying a large collection of gold pieces seemingly floating in the sacred waters of Lake Guatavita. It's a striking image that will leave an indelible mark on kids as well as adults.

#3 Maloka

Static-electricity experiment at Maloka (photo courtesy of Christopher P Baker)

The Maloka interactive science and technology center offers an educational experience that's also fun. Its nine halls feature more than 200 creative exhibits dedicated to teaching children about the universe, electricity, molecular sciences, and culture. These include a hair-raising (literally) static-electricity experiment, a car-lifting physics demonstration, and a lesson on how the weight of the human body changes on different planets. It’s a bit advanced for younger children, and it lacks English-speaking guides to answer questions.

#4 Changing of the Guard in Plaza de Armas

Changing of the Guard, Bogota (photo courtesy of Christopher P Baker)

Teens particularly will enjoy this traditional military parade, held in the spacious Plaza de Armas between the Neoclassical Capitolio Nacional—where Congress meets—and the Casa de Nariño, the presidential palace. The heavily guarded palace can be toured (45 minutes) with 48 hours’ notice, but no reservations are needed to enjoy the public parade, performed every Wednesday and Friday at 2:30 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm. More than 200 soldiers—the Presidential Guard Battalion—in colorful 19th-century ceremonial costume march along Carrera 7 and into the plaza to furl the Colombian flag. Get there early for a prime vantage point—the east side (Carrera 7) of the plaza is best. You'll need to open your bags for inspection as you pass through military barriers on Carrera 7 and 8.

#5 Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar

The main lake in Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar

If you’re an outdoorsy family, there’s plenty of leafy nature in the heart of Bogotá. The Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar—the huge metropolitan park named for the great "Liberator" of Colombia's independence movement—offers enough activities to fill an entire day. Little ones can enjoy the sandpits and jungle gyms in the playground. Older kids can row a boat on the main lake, which also rents peddle-boats and canoes. And the entire family can enjoy a bit of exercise cycling and running the park's trails before perhaps enjoying a picnic by the lake. Also, the park is a principal venue for concerts and festivals, so keep your eye on the social calendar for any events that appeal.

#6 Divercity

Divercity (photo courtesy of Bogotá Motor City)

Divercity is a cleverly named virtual village in the Centro Comercial Santa Fé shopping mall. It's the perfect place to park youngsters while you enjoy some retail therapy or relax with a cappuccino. Focused on kids 12 and under, its multidimensional attractions include ball pits, climbing walls, and even go-karts. And because all children love role-playing, they can pretend to work as doctors, firefighters, police, or even TV hosts. They’re "paid" in tokens, redeemable at Divercity’s shops and games. All the activities here are intended to spark the imagination and to teach lessons in cooperation and the value of work.

#7 Andrés Carne de Res

Face painting at Andres Carnes de Res (photo courtesy of Christopher P Baker)

Andrés Carne de Res is more extravaganza than restaurant. It's a raucous mix of live theater and wild décor that spans seven acres in Chía, about a 45-minute drive north of Bogotá. When Andrés Jaramillo opened this roadside grill in 1982 it had only ten tables; today it seats 2,000 party-hearty patrons. The vast menu (64 pages) spans the continent, with huge meat platters and a wide-ranging kid’s menu.

As tremendous as the meat-heavy menu is, you come here for the ambiance. You'll see staff in Day of the Dead makeup and dressed in fantastical costumes, and every inch of the place is adorned with a rainbow-hued riot of neon signs, tchotchkes, and knick-knacks. There's also a “children’s zone,” with face-painting, clowns, stilt-walking, and a climbing wall. Dance lessons are even held in a studio. You can then try out your moves on the dance floor, as the disco here goes into the wee hours (note that children aren't allowed in the late evening).

The smaller sister property, Andrés DC, in the heart of Bogotá, is also a phantasmagoria of fun, but the flagship original takes it to the nth degree. It's well worth the extra drive. For more options on fun things to do around Bogotá, see this article

#8 Parque Finkana

Child riding a pony at Finkana (photo courtesy of Christopher P Baker)

Animal lovers are in hog heaven at this family-friendly agricultural theme park (formerly Parque Panaca), near Zipaquirá. Separate sections are devoted to ducks and geese, pigs, horses, cattle, and more. There are species from around the world here, with lots of information displays and English-speaking interpretive guides to help make this a great learning experience.

As for interactivity, kids can hold rabbits, milk cows, and feed baby goats, pigs, and sheep. Younger children can ride llamas, but the entire family can saddle up for horseback and pony rides. Take a seat in one of the arenas and marvel at equestrian shows and well-trained pooches performing incredible tricks. Note that Parque Finkana's basic entrance fee does not include access to most interactive activities or shows, which cost extra.

#9 Catedral de Sal

View of the main cathedral in the Catedral de Sal

A must-see on any family’s Colombia itinerary is the underground Catedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral) at Zipaquirá, about a 45-minute drive from Bogotá. You’ll want half-a-day to explore this amazing 25-acre complex, comprised of three levels carved out of a vast halite (rock salt) mineral deposit. It’s a thrill as you walk downhill through the long entrance tunnel and emerge on the upper level, where broad corridors are carved with 14 Stations of the Cross bathed in eerie colored lights.

The lower level includes a shrine, the massive 72-foot-tall cathedral, and fantastical biblical figures. Don’t miss the underground mirror lake, plus the recreation of Michelangelo’s Creación del Hombre (Creation of Man) inset in bas-relief in the ground. Guided tours are compulsory because it’s easy to get discombobulated amid the labyrinth. So don’t let the little ones go wandering off. To make the most of your visit, let the kid's play on the climbing wall. Also, there are plenty of outdoor food stalls, and the adjoining Museo de Sal (Salt Museum) provides more details on local salt mining.

#10 Ciclovía

Many thoroughfares are closed for the Sunday ciclovía

Bogotá’s nightmarish traffic means the city's ciclovía system is a breath of fresh air. Each Sunday in the capital traffic is banned from many thoroughfares. Then, tens of thousands of families don roller blades or hop on their bikes and enjoy some fun and exercise on the 208 miles of traffic-free ciclorutas (bicycle routes). Refreshment stalls are set up along the routes, and intersections with cross-traffic are policed (plenty of local tour operators rent bicycles and roller blades). There are even alfresco aerobics and Zumba classes. Overall, ciclovía is one of the best ways for you and your family to experience Bogotá as a local. For more cycling ideas in Colombia, check out this article. 

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Top 10 things to do with kids in bogotá, Colombia - Feb 27 - Mar 5, 2019

Traveler: Zita r. - Local specialist: Jess Weiss

Jess, our agent/local specialist has been amazing. Our trip was very last minute and had some special circumstances, yet Jess was on top of it. It was our first time in Colombia and we had not time to research much, so it was amazing to have KimKim's recommendations, and then Jess's guidance in booking things. Jess checked in many times to ensure everything was going well, she answered all my questions almost instantly, which given the last minute nature of the trip was very much... read more

Jess, our agent/local specialist has been amazing. Our trip was very last minute and had some special circumstances, yet Jess was on top of it. It was our first time in Colombia and we had not time to research much, so it was amazing to have KimKim's recommendations, and then Jess's guidance in booking things. Jess checked in many times to ensure everything was going well, she answered all my questions almost instantly, which given the last minute nature of the trip was very much appreciated, she was very patient and detailed and professional in all her communication. She even informed us about the schedule of some museums that we wanted to visit and could not do on the days we had a guide for.

The activities booked all worked out as planned. The guides and drivers were not only on time, but in most cases early. I traveled most of the time alone with my 7-year-old, therefore having this service was reassuring. While there have been some minor communication errors between the guides, their bosses, the agency, mostly about the timing of the activities (somehow most of them had earlier times than us) , all the guides and drivers were very flexible, accommodating and understanding. All the guides had excellent English. The private rides were in very comfortable and clean cars, with working seat belts (not a given in any Colombian taxis :)), and nice chatty drivers (if you speak Spanish). We also liked that we had the same guide for our entire stay in one location.

Raffael, our walking tour guide in Cartagena was great in giving us the lay-out of the old city center and it's history. The chocolate making activity at the Chocolate Museum was very educational and fun for both my child and me. Our guide there (I believe Nelson) was fantastic. The day trip to Playa Azul was nice, but I have been to nicer and quieter beaches that didn't require a 45-minute speed boat ride to it, so unless you are desperate for beach time, you can skip this activity. With that being said, my 7-year-old loved it, and Cartagena is surrounded by water, so it would be a tease not to go to the beach while there.

Mauricio, our guide in the coffee region, was the most fantastic guide one could ask for. He clearly loves what he does and is very good at it. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about nature and everything in the region. He was fun, flexible, accommodating and an endless source of information. We LOVED our hike in Cocora Valley, a must for anyone going to Colombia. We did the entire hike (almost 14 km long), and our 7-year-old was fine with it. It is a quite difficult and treacherous hike though, so I only recommend it to those in good physical condition. You must ride in a Jeep to it, a Willy, if you don't mind some minor discomfort. We loved it! The valley is simply gorgeous. We really enjoyed the coffee farm tour and visiting some of the villages in the region the next day.

We spent two days in Bogota with our guide Sharon. She was very knowledgeable about the places we visited and accommodating for our needs. We went to the local market which was very colorful, but nothing unusual for a European. The trip up Monserrate is a must while in Bogota. The view is gorgeous. We went on a walking tour of the Candelaria neighborhood, the Gold Museum, and the emerald row. Sharon was great at explaining everything we needed to know and in recommending great places to eat. We also visited the Botero museum (on our own, as it was closed the day we had a guide), and I think it is a must see while in Bogota.

Overall Colombia is great destination. The food is excellent everywhere. We felt safe everywhere. Our trip was unforgettable, and that is thanks to KimKim and Jess. There is no way I would have been able to plan such a trip and get so much out of it in short 7 days, even if it wasn't last minute. My only wish is to make the pricing of the activities more transparent, activity by activity, so we can decide weather some are worth it for us or not. Thanks everyone!