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A World of Imagination in San Juan Fortifications Discovery Center

Where Kids may be Transported Back in Time
Publication of Discovery: June 5, 2016
Issue: June, 2016

For centuries, soldiers from the Spanish Empire protected the island of Puerto Rico. Kids may learn in a very creative way about these Spanish soldiers at the San Juan National Historic Site’s Discovery Center located nearby the San Cristobal Fort in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Once at the Discovery Center, an explorer kid had the chance to learn about the San Juan National Historic Site and the importance of Puerto Rico to the Spaniards back then as he watched a short documentary film in the Explore Room.

Then the explorer kid’s imagination and creativity along with the great service of Discovery Center’s guide, Kina González, and a young assistant guide led him to “transport back in time” and immerse into the Spanish soldiers history related to Puerto Rico.

What better for the kid than to begin his exploration in the Adventure Room where artistic murals, a treasure chest, a barrel and his imagination let him believe he was inside a caravel. These were just the initial discoveries that resulted in the kid’s fascination.

The reading of two handmade story books with colorful illustrations of Spanish fortifications in Old San Juan also intrigued and entertained the explorer kid. The storytelling of “La Leyenda de la Garita del Diabo” (The Leyend of the Garita del Diablo) and “Misterio en el Morro” (Mistery in El Morro) in the Adventure Room was definitely a very captivating experience for both the explorer kid and me. The fact that these story books were created and crafted by third grade-sixth grade Puerto Rican students resulted in a more valuable experience. Specially, when one of these students read one of the books to the explorer kid!

Creativity and imagination continued in the Creative Room where the explorer kid crafted a three-cornered hat in honor of the hat worn by the Spanish soldiers. He carefully made drawings of himself, a caravel, a “garita” (Spanish fort’s guard post) and part of the San Cristobal Fort’s façade on the hat made out of construction paper. Then the kid made a drawing of a “garita” which became the masterpiece of his custom-made pin.

Excitement was the end result as the explorer kid dressed up with the Spanish soldier’s uniform and his one and only three cornered hat. Adventure awaited again at the Adventure Room where the kid was once again “transported back in time” but at this point in time to be and act as a Spanish soldier.

Afterwards, the discovery continued as the explorer kid played with caravels and a castle made out of plastic construction blocks that kids love.

Though the adventure at the Discovery Center ended, the kid continued exploring at the “garita” located at the entrance of the San Cristobal Fort’s façade.

To visit the Discovery Center, we advise you to contact Kina González to coordinate your visit. The Discovery Center is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. T.: 787-729-6777, x. 271 or 259. E.: saju_discovery_center@nps.gov

tour provider: Old San Juan Discovery Center
book here
where the crew ate: El Jibarito
photograph by: N. Michelle Rodríguez

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all details with the pertinent businesses before planning your trip. Please be cautious. The company behind this publication assumes no responsibility for your safety when participating in the activities mentioned in this article. You are responsible for confirming whether you are capable of participating in any of these activities or tours, regardless of the effort level or any other information provided in this website.

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SJNHS Discovery Center

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mind speak!

Salvador Ferrer, San Juan, PR: “What I liked the most about this visit was to dress up as a Spanish soldier and play in the Adventure Room.” (translation ours).

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