The hustle and bustle of city life can lead us, and consequently our children, to ignore the splendor and biodiversity that surrounds us. Instead, we spend our days stuck in a routine that doesn’t offer us the opportunity to breathe in fresh air, spend quality time with animals and nature, or to truly understand how fascinating our natural surroundings are.

Just fifteen minutes from Barranquilla you will find the first eco-farm, El Solar de Mao, in the department of Atlántico that offers visitors the opportunity to vividly experience contact with nature. El Solar de Mao’s main focus is to provide a fun and educational way for children to directly participate with the farm’s daily activities through workshops and physical fieldwork. The intent is to create awareness about the importance of taking care of our environment. Through this active learning process children can begin to truly respect, love and feel that they have a big responsibility to safeguard our beloved nature.

The farm is divided into different educational areas, which each focus on a specific ecological theme. Specialized guides lead groups through the farm, explaining in detail the natural process- es and improvements needed for environmental conservation. The Mundo Mariposa area is dedicated entirely to butterflies. In this section, visitors are completely surrounded by hundreds of these magical creatures and guided by the enchanting “butterfly fairy” through the lifecycle of this insect. The children learn about the butterfly’s wonderful secrets and the important role it plays in our environment.

In contrast to the small insects in Mundo Mariposa, La Granja de Mao is home to a collection of peculiar animals such as dwarf cows, giant chickens, Vietnamese pigs and domestic buffalo. And if exotic animals take your fancy, why not hold a snake on your shoulders or buy a guinea pig to forever remember your farm experience? With direct contact, such as feeding and stroking the animals, children are given the chance to learn a bit more about these animals in an engaging and friendly way and by doing so within the farm, begin to understand the animal`s importance in our ecosystems.

Outside of the animal kingdom there is also a vegetable garden, where tomatoes, eggplant, onions, pepper and many other veggies are cultivated. Children can be a farmer for a day and plant their own seeds; hats are included! This activity allows them to see the origins and organic processes of what they eat every day. By making them aware of all the hard work that takes place before the food arrives in the supermarkets, the children are encouraged to have a better appreciation for their food. The farm’s restaurant is beginning to use vegetables grown from these gardens in their daily menu. And to conclude the eco-tour, there is El Bosque Encantado in which visitors are taken on a trail to discover the different types of trees indigenous to this area, including the diversity of fruit trees, the distinctive ways in which they grow, their characteristics and their importance in our ecosystems. In addition to the four-hour farm tour, there is also a picnic area and playground for children.

Deprived of active and motivating educational recreation programs, children will not be able to take care of our environment; they simply cannot begin to protect without knowing what to conserve. Places such as El Solar de Mao are extremely necessary for this day in age, especially for children. Through meth- ods, such as these educational eco-tours, we are providing essential tools to ensure that our environment will exist 50 years from now. It all begins with nurturing a loving and respectful relationship with our treasured environment because if we don’t put our heart back into Earth, Earth will take her heart from us.

The eco-farm is open from Mondays to Saturdays, and requires a reservation Sundays and public holidays: 9am- 5pm

www.elsolardemao.com