The castle-like hilltop structure on the west side of Barrio Amón , at the north end of Calle 4, served as the city penitentiary from 1910 until 1979. Today it houses the Centro Costarricense de Ciencias y Cultura (tel. 506/2238-4929, www.museocr.org , 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $2 adults, $1.30 children), comprising a library and auditorium (note the fantastic sculptures outside), plus the National Gallery (not to be confused with the National Gallery of Contemporary Art), dedicated to contemporary art displayed in airy exhibition halls conjured from former jail cells.
Also here is the Museo de los Niños (Tues.–Sun., $1.50 adults, $1 children). The Children’s Museum lets children reach out and touch science and technology, with exhibits that include a planetarium and rooms dedicated to astronomy, Earth, Costa Rica, ecology, science, human beings, and communications.