New attractions at the INBioparque in Santo Domingo de Heredia will appeal to lovers of snakes and geology, while the institution itself is also working to understand its own management challenges.
The main function of the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is the description and inventory of Costa Rica’s wildlife, but it maintains a substantial facility in Santo Domingo for educational purposes and as a fundraiser. The park has regular events and some courses. The INBio web site is http://www.inbio.ac.cr/. Upcoming events in July include a bird watching course as well as one on cultivating mushrooms.
The park itself has exhibits as well as a network of trails. A maze formed from a large hedge is popular with kids. There is also a substantial pond and marsh where some waterbirds and other wildlife are relatively easy to observe.
The main exhibit hall has been converted to a display on volcanism with appropriate rumbling noises and diagrams of how volcanoes form and grow. There is also a video presentation on climate change.
With the cooperation of the National Serpentarium, the size of the reptile exhibit has been expanded considerably, to about 30 terrariums with various snakes and lizards along with an aquarium to hold sea snakes. All the poisonous species are represented.
The facility has added a weather station and smart electric meters to get a better idea of how energy is used among the different parts of the institute.
A major event in May that will be repeated next year was a bioblitz where groups of visitors led by the institute’s researchers attempted to catalogue as much of the park’s wildlife as possible in 24 hours, including owls and insects overnight. More than a thousand visitors took part in this event, according to the park administration. In total, 58 species of insects, 35 birds, 26 plants, 22 reptiles, 20 mushrooms, 16 arachnids, 13 amphibians, 10 mammals, and seven fish were found. Visitors discovered a bird and a mushroom that had not been previously recorded on the property.
For residents and Costa Rican nationals, entrance to INBioparque for adults is 3,750 colons, children up to 12 years 2,600, and seniors 3,000. The reptile exhibit is an extra 1,000 colons for adults and 500 for children. Non-resident foreigners pay $24 for adults and $14 for children with a tour included.
Weekend park hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with last admission at 4 p.m. Admission after 3:30 has a reduced rate. The park is also open to the public Fridays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last call at 3 p.m.
INBio is on the south side of Santo Domingo de Heredia and can be reached via the main road from Tibás to Santo Domingo and Heredia, with a sign indicating the left turn to the park. From the west, the main road from Lagunilla de Heredia to Santo Domingo goes by INBio after passing through Santa Rosa.