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Another outing with friends Diane and John, this time to the German Springtime Fair 2014 (Feria Primaveral Alemana) on May 18 and held at INBioparque in Santo Domingo de Heredia.
The fair was hosted by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry German Costarricense. The lineups to get into the fair were very long. Fortunately, there was a special line for Lance and myself - the senior's line! Not only that, we were able to buy tickets for Diane and John at the same ticket window although they are yet considered seniors here but their time is coming.
A note about the prices to enter the park - for non-residents it is $25 which we felt was rather hefty for tourists to pay, although every dollar spent contributes to biodiversity, conservation, educational programs and sustainability efforts in Costa Rica. For seniors with cedulas (Costa Rican I.D. cards), the entry fee is 3,400 colones ($6.80) and for adults with cedulas the cost is 4,150 colones ($8.30).
On display at the fair were German products and companies in Costa Rica, artistic presentations of German works, and typical dishes and beverages from Germany. For lunch we had bratwurst in a bun and Oettinger beer, plus we got to keep the cool beer glasses! The bratwurst was very good. I wanted to buy a loaf of bread but the lineup was just too long to make it worthwhile.
We decided to wander around the park after lunch. The trails are easy to walk (paved) and they will take you through a rainforest, a premountainous forest, wetlands, dry forest, a small working farm, medicinal and herbal gardens, a butterfly enclosure (always one of my favorites), reptiles and so on. The maze was closed for some reason, which annoyed John but then he realized the maze was only about shoulder height high so would not have been much of a challenge anyway.
There were markers with plant names but it was hard to know which tree or plant they were referring to. Apparently you can get a guide for a reasonable price and this is probably a good idea in order to have a better understanding of the park.
We saw caimans, iquanas and turtles in the lagoon and came upon a covered ampitheatre where an excellent musical group was performing so we sat and watched them for a while. Walking through the rainforest was refreshing, as we were treated to sprays of mist. We enjoyed our day there but there are a few things about the park that might be improved.
There is not much explanation for a number of things. For instance, the volcano exhibit didn't tell us very much. We figured out the moving floor area must represent an earthquake and there were volcano models that you could stand behind and have your picture taken - fun, but ..... The mushroom exhibit was cement mushrooms in the rain forest, a la Alice in Wonderland.
I think this is a good park for families and kids. There is a play area, the petting farm and lots of trails for kids to run and blow off energy. There is a restaurant and a cafeteria, neither of which we tried because we had our German lunch. Oh, and there is an ice cream parlor at the little farm.