Saturday, January 29, 2011

Panaca (Ranching Theme Park)

Yes, another theme/amusement park but, wait, this time it's a RANCHING amusement park. Warning: this story is full of way-too-disgustingly-cute photos of me with farm animals like this one:

PANACA is an acronym for Parque Natural De La Cultura Agropecuaria, which means something like The Natural Park of Agriculture and Livestock. The idea is to have a place where city dwellers can learn about and interact with the various types of animals commonly found on a farm. They're definitely "farm biased" since their slogan is "Sin Campo No Hay Ciudad" (Without Farms There's No City). I'm not sure how well it works since some of my interactions with the animals such as these just made me think about my next meal:

The park is surprisingly good. Most of your visit is spent in shows such as the one below where a guy from the future comes back to the present and he doesn't know where milk comes from. Since the show is entirely in Spanish and I'm still learning, I had a difficult time understanding what they were doing with all these cows when everyone already knows that milk comes from the supermarket (just kidding):

After this particular show they had a bunch of way-too-big animals around for people to check out. I got to do my best Mongo (from Blazing Saddles) impersonation with this guy:

In addition to all the animal shows, there's a bunch of cultural demos too. One that I particularly enjoyed was the panela-making demonstration. Panela, also known as piloncillo in Mexico, is sugar-cane juice that's boiled down until it's very dense. It's sold as a solid and is used to make a sweet beverage (agua de panela or panela water) that's verrrrry popular in Colombia.

To keep the urban youngins like me interested, they've got a series of zip lines running through the park. I've seen tons of photos of different friends doing this in various locations like Costa Rica and so on. I never really had any interest in trying it before but when it's included in the price of admission...

The zip lines are kinda' cool. You slide along the line from the top of a hill to a base somewhere else. It's quick but you get a good view and it's fun. I wouldn't go out of my way to do it again but I did enjoy it.

The final show that I watched wouldn't be politically correct in the U.S. but I guess is okay here in Colombia. It was a "Cowboys-and-Indians" show that reenacts an Indian (or Native American if you prefer) attack on settlers in the western U.S. Needless to say, it wasn't flattering for the Indians but "when in Rome" I always say:

The rest of the show was good. They had a bunch of different horse-related demos and other things like lasso demos as well. I have to say that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Panaca. I don't think that I'd need to do it again but I'd recommend it if you find yourself near one of their three locations (Quindio in the Colombian coffee area, near Pueblo Mexico, or in San Mateo Costa Rica).

Finally, I'll end this story with this shot of me making friends with the Panaca locals (awwww!):

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