Parque Juan Montalvo

Ambato's main plaza is surprisingly beautiful, with handsome stone entryways, sculpted juniper bushes shading wooden benches, flowering trees and a giant statue of Juan Montalvo in the center. On the northwest side of the plaza, you can visit his former house, Casa de Montalvo (g 282 4248; admission $0.50; ® 9am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat). Next door the Casa de Cultura (g 282 0338,282 4248; admission free; VI 9am-noon & 3-6pm Mon-Fri) has an art gallery. On the northeast side of this plaza is the modern and rather bleak cathedral.

MUSEO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES This natural-history museum (g 282 1958; Sucre & Lalama; admission $2; ® 8:30am-12:30pm & 2:30-5:30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat), in the Colegio Bolivar, houses hundreds of stuffed birds, mammals and reptiles. There's also a rather gruesome display of freaks, such as two-headed calves and six-legged lambs, an archaeological collection with Inca pieces, traditional Ecuadorian clothing, a coin collection and other displays.

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