December marks the start of Caracas' dry season, and it is a good time to escape the city for the mountains. El Ávila range looms north of the city and the park is surprisingly accessible from downtown. Hikers and walkers will find more than 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) of trails, but a cable car, or teleférico, climbs the imposing slopes in a quick 12-minute ride for those desiring a faster ascent. On clear days, El Ávila Peak offers breathtaking views of Caracas and the Caribbean.
Although a flock of tourists go up the Cerro El Avila every day, you may only want to reach its summit, or the coast on the other side of the mountain. In that case, Caracas has two cable car routes to offer you: Maripérez-El Avila and Maripérez-Macuto. The Maripérez-El Avila route has always been the most popular, taking you to El Avila's ice rink, the disco and the luxurious Hotel Humboldt. You'll overlook the Caracas valley on one side and the Caribbean on the other from a height of 2153 meters (7063.64 feet). The cars leave every 15 or 30 minutes, according to the number of passengers.
This museum was opened in 1976, and is devoted to the preservation and exhibition of works by Venezuelan artists from Colonial times to present day. The Permanent Collection includes relevant names from the 19th Century like Arturo Michelena, Cristobal Rojas, Martin Tovar y Tovar and Tito Salas; among later artists are Francisco Narvaez and Hector Poleo, plus a vast selection of works by Armando Reveron. Present Venezuelan art is represented by Alejandro Otero, Francisco Hung, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jacobo Borges, Regulo Perez, Meyer Vaisman and other great creators. The museum also presents temporary exhibitions coming from public or private collections.
Children can have a fun day at the Museo de los Niños de Caracas, a place dedicated to enhance a child's intellectual potential. This famed museum is a recreational as well as a learning center, that focuses on an all-round development of kids. At this museum, workshops, activities and a plethora of exhibitions breaks the notion of education being a boring and dull concept. From biology to communications, the intriguing exhibits at the museum cover a wide range of topics.
In every Venezuelan city and town, the main square is named after Simon Bolivar. Caracas' Plaza Bolivar is not only the center of civic, political, commercial, social and tourist activity, but it stands on the grounds where conqueror Diego de Losada founded the city in 1567; the capital of Venezuela grew out from four corners. Public buildings like the Capitolio Nacional, the Catedral Metropolitana, the Foreign Office and the Palacio Municipal surround the square. But, the real meaning of Plaza Bolivar is found in its energy, which keeps Caracas alive.
Designed specifically keeping people with cognitive disabilities and special needs in mind, The Expanzoo in Caracas is a petting zoo like no other. Get up close and personal with the zoo's numerous residents, from camels, zebras and deer to ostrich, flamingos, peacocks and alpacas. There are even pony rides on offer for the little ones. Besides this, the facility offers numerous educational and therapeutic programs for children with special needs.
The Plaza La Concordia was constructed over a period of 3 years at the very site where once stood the infamous prison "La Rotunda". While the prison thrived under the oppressive regime of President Juan Vicente Gómez, it was demolished just a few short months after his demise. The plaza was originally designed by the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva, and was inaugurated in 1940. At the time of its completion the square was centered around the temple monóptero which symbolized peace, love and unity. In 1961, the temple was demolished and replaced by a concrete structure instead. Today Plaza La Concordia is a simple, but lovely public space and even features a play area for children.
Originally constructed in 1945 in the honor of General Rafael Urdaneta, the plaza was renamed after Daniel Florencio O'Leary in 1952 to recognize this brave soldier's role in the attainment of independence for Venezuela. Plaza O' Leary is bounded by the avenues San Martin and Sucre Casa, and is best known for the two marvelous fountains that call it their home. The square was designed by Carlos Raúl Villanueva in conjunction with the renowned artist and sculptor, Francisco Narvaez, who is credited with the design and creation of the fine sculptures that make up the plaza's fountains. Surrounded by a historic ambiance and the soothing babble of the fountains' waters, Plaza O' Leary is a fine place to enjoy a few moments of peace and solitude.
The Plaza La Candelaria is a popular local hangout. The plaza was originally constructed in 1708 and was used as a venue for bullfights and fiestas. Post independence, Plaza La Candelaria was converted into a public recreational space with an outdoor gym, a playground and seating. Be sure to stop by the historic church of La Candelaria and the stately statues that can be found around the square. The plaza is often used as a venue for celebrations and concerts. Beneath the cool shade of the plaza's trees, this splendid square is a great place to mingle with the locals and perhaps join in a game of chess.