Luis A. Ferre Science Park: An Eclectic Collection
March 2013- Currently the park is closed for restoration. I will post when it has reopened. Should be sometime in 2013. The Art Museum inside the park is open (and free) to visit during restoration.
I had read a number of things about the Luis A. Ferré Science Park (Parque de las Ciencias Luís A. Ferré in Spanish) on-line and in magazines. I had driven past it numerous times, each time thinking "I really should stop in there and check it out". Well, we finally took the time the other day to spend some time at the "park".
Being into science, I figured that this museum would be interesting and something that I would enjoy. As it turns out, it is a complex of "museums" about all sorts of things — but not really science!
Into the Park
Upon arrival, you pay the admission fee, walk about 3 feet and hand another employee your still-warm tickets and get a map of the park in exchange.
When we went, they did point out that a number of exhibits were closed for renovation. So, unfortunately, we missed some of the exhibits I would have liked to see — the Planetarium, the Art Museum (which is now open 9/12) and the Aerospace Museum. Hopefully they will be finished with the renovations soon. Note- May 2012- the Art Museum is open Tuesday- Saturday 9am – 4pm. Free admission.
Our first stop was the Health Pavilion. This was the only place where the information was bi-lingual. There was a Dengue mosquito exhibit, but the rest of the displays were in sad disrepair.
Next, we went to the Telephone Museum. This was pretty cool — lots of original phones, telegraphs and switch boards.
Then onto the Marine Ecosystem Museum, which had a number of mounted fish and about 10 fake aquarium dioramas showing how pollution affects the marine animals.
Then to the Zoo, which was pretty sad — a few monkeys, a hippo, some featherless ostriches, a jaguar. All behind so many bars & fences that it was hard to see them.
We walked up to the large cross and the Observation Tower. That was a difficult/steep climb! But there were some good views (but mostly of the towns).
Then on to some museums that I guess you must have to be Puerto Rican to understand. One was all about Pacheco (a local comedian) and another was Toritos City (I am still wondering what this one was all about!).
There is also a Transportation Museum — mainly antique cars. Probably 50 different cars starting from 1918 or so. Also, an old train locomotive, old bicycle, gas pumps and a small airplane.
The Archaeology Museum has a large collection of Taíno Indian tools & pottery. In addition, they have on display a fragmented human skeleton discovered at the Puerto Ferro site on the island of Vieques (off the east coast of Puerto Rico) in 1990. Radiocarbon dating of the burial site indicates that the male skeleton is 4000 years old. The skeleton, popularly known as El Hombre de Puerto Ferro, is believed to be one of a pre-ceramic and pre-agricultural people who lived here long before the Taíno Indians.
The Museum of Natural Science is Dr Ventura Barnes’ collection of mounted animals from many of his African safaris during the 1960′s. Probably close to 100 animal heads looking at you, along with many African souvenirs. Even furniture made from elephants tusks and feet. I thought it would have been more educational and PC to have some information how this is really frowned upon now, that we should be protecting these animals, and about saving endangered species.
Outside of the Aerospace Museum they have a couple rockets, an Army helicopter and an Air Force fighter jet. I believe they are authentic US rockets that were used in the space program. What I don’t understand is why they were sitting in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. There wasn’t much information available on these.
There is also a Television Studio where they film soap operas. That was not open to the public.
Everything seemed incongruous — a huge cross, rockets, a small zoo, a telephone exhibit, an archaeological exhibit, antique cars, a donated collection of African safari trophies, a film studio … I did enjoy my time there, but at the end of the day my overall impression was "I just don’t get it".
Almost everything in the science park is in Spanish. But don’t worry, you won’t miss much as most stuff is not labeled anyway! Just look at it and enjoy.
The admission fee is $3.00 for kids under 12, $5.00 for adults, and $2.50 for seniors. The Planetarium is an additional $2.00 for kids and $3.00 for adults. Parking is $1.00.
The park is open Wednesday through Friday from 9:00am until 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10:00am until 6:00pm. They are closed Monday, Tuesday and holidays. The ticket office closes 2 hours before the park closes.
Allow about 2 to 4 hours.
You can call 787-740-6868 or 787-740-6869 for more information.
Directions from the San Juan area: Drive westbound (oeste) on Expressway 22. Take Exit 13, turn left toward Road 167 (go underneath the expressway) and in about one mile you will see the rockets on your right. The drive should take about 20 minutes.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.