Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:47 AM
Papalote Students Visit Crococun
Unbelievably, somehow, I have managed to spend six years in Playa del Carmen with small children and NEVER managed to visit Crococun. So, when the 1st grade class at El Papalote School solicited chaperones for a field trip to the small eco-zoo and reptile farm, I jumped at the chance. Frankly, I think I was more excited than Cole. So, last week, we piled the students into cars and made the trip 30 minutes north to Puerto Morelos.
Unlike my husband, who has an aversion to all things that crawl on their bellies, I happen to really dig snakes and the like and want my kids to develop a healthy appreciation for them as well. As we are planning to build in the jungle, they are going to need to be able to identify both friend and foe and this gave us all a good chance to take a look at some of the indigenous species that will likely cross our paths.
The residents of the zoo are almost entirely creatures that are found in this area of Mexico. Some were quite familiar to us, like the coatimundi and venado (deer). Others, like the Margay, a small wild cat that resembles an ocelot, were more exotic. The facility was very nearly destroyed by hurricane Gilbert in 1988 but since then, due in no small part to the efforts of conservationists and nature lovers, the zoo has been rebuilt and is now better than ever. More than just a tourist attraction, Crococun is now dedicated to preserving and protecting indigenous species for generations to come.
Yellow headed Amazon parrot
The stars of the show
The children were introduced to the juvenile crocs and allowed to hold one.
Next we moved on to the snakes and met this friendly boa. I loved watching the unique reactions of the kids.
This big guy is actually native to Costa Rica
Big beautiful iguana
A rattle snake of some sort
We marveled at this gorgeous Vine snake
....the same color as these bananas
We saw two handsome Xoloitzcuintli, Mexican hairless dogs. You can really imagine their ancestors keeping time with Mayan Kings.
Does every zoo have a Peacock?
On the way to feed the deer, a spider monkey who has voluntarily taken up residence at the zoo stopped by for a visit. Jessica, our guide explained, suffers from some sort of bi-polar disorder. This was a good day and she was eager to show off her new baby and see if we had brought any treats. The baby was still on milk only but she enjoyed the grapes offered by the children.
Next, the children got to wander amongst the deer.
Of course Jessica followed along.
We saw some coatiis
And this elegant Margay
All the kids had a great day and the grown-ups had fun watching them.
The tour, which was conducted in Spanish, lasted about an hour which is
plenty of time to make it through the small park but not so long that
you feel overheated and dehydrated. Once we had completed the circuit
through the zoo and visited all of the inhabitants, the kids had time
to sit and eat lunch and enjoy some run-around time in the shaded
playground area. If you haven't had a chance to visit Crococun, I would
definitely recommend it. With or without children, it makes for a fun
activity when you are looking for a break from the beach. The rates are
pretty reasonable and the guide is included in the price. Locals with
ID receive a 30% discount. Not bad. I think you can see by the looks on
the childrens' faces that it was money well spent.