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Bosque of Chapultepec
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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The Paseo de la Reforma

This avenue, which is the most elegant of the arterial streets in the capital city, goes through the city center connecting Chapultepec Park to the residential neighborhood of Lomas.

Monument of Independence




Left picture : Monument of Independence





The Park of Chapultepec

The Reforma, the only avenue in Mexico City keeping its name the whole way, crosses the Bosque de Chapultepec, once the reserve of drinking water at the time of the Aztecs. The park of Chapultepec is the biggest park in the city. A pleasant open relaxation place, it not only comprised a botanical garden, a zoological park, lakes and fountains but also sport fields, theaters and about half a dozen museums. Chapultepec means "Grasshopper Hill". At the top is the Casttle, currently the National History Museum. The Galería de Historia, better know as the Museo del caracol is located halfway up the hill and to one side lies a small lake as a reminder of the springs that used to exist there. Next to the lake stands the Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola, an important forum that forms part of the cultural dissemination program of the National University of Mexico. This section also contains Mexico City Zoo, and the Museums of Modern Art, Rufino Tamayo and Anthropology. The official residence of the president of Mexico, know as Los Pinos, is located nearby. The second section is an extension of the first. Built in 1960s, it has two lakes as well as well as amusement rides, restaurants, walkays, jogging and cycling paths, spectacular fountains, children's games and three museums : the Museo Tecnológico de la Comisión Federal de Electricidad (scientific subjects), the Museo de Historia Natural, the only museum in the city designed to dissemate issues related to ecology and environmental conservation, and the modern "Papalote Museo del Niño, an area for learning where children can touch everything and amuse themselves blowing giant bubbles and lying down on a bed of nails. The third section, built later, is a sort of ecological reserve, meaning that it has various green areas to bring man into contact with nature. In short, Chapultepec is a major cultural, tourist and recreational center for locals and visitors alike. It has also become one of the main sources of oxygen in the vicinity of Mexico City's Historic Center.
ninos heroesLaid on a 647.5 hectares surface, it attracts thousands of visitors every day. Alleys have been set up for bikers and joggers.

It was the royal hunting ground field of Moctezuma. The viceroy had the "Castillo" built as a summer home but Mexico declared independence before the construction was done. The castle then became the military Academy. Six young cadets from this academy defended until the death the castle, attacked on September 13, 1847 by American troops. The memory of the "Los Niños Héroes" is perpetuated with the monument erected in the memory of their sacrifice at the entrance of the Park. Their remains lie in the six columns.

   Right picture : ninos heroes



El Castillo de Chapultepec : open 9AM-5PM, guided visits from Tuesday to Sunday; $200 for 3 h – Meeting place at the reja de los leones at the main entrance of Chaputelpec coming from the avenue Reforma (2nd turibus stop). It stands on an esplanade from where there is a very beautiful view of the city. The building is haunted by the archduke Maximilian of Austria and his wife Charlotte, who stayed there in the middle of the nineteenth century and had a tragic end of life. Maximilian became emperor of Mexico under the auspices of France and he kept his power with the support of a French expeditionary military corps, which left the country two years after his accession. The troops of Benito Juárez didn’t wait long to beat the prince, captured him and executed him. His wife Charlotte became mad and died a long time later. The building was renovated by President Porfirio Diaz.entrance of the museum of History

The building, after being home for the presidents of Mexico until 1939, has been transformed in a museum of history. Besides the imperial habitations that you can visit, you can find in this Museo Nacional de Historia (open 9AM-4:15PM, Tue-Sun, $51) diverse rooms consecrated to different times of the history of the country, from the pre-Hispanic time to the modern time through the Conquest, the decline of New Spain, the birth of the independent movements, the declaration of autonomy ... each period is documented by paintings, pictures, written works, maps, models, weapons and diverse objects. Some rooms are reserved to minor arts, clothes and fineries. You could also, from the nice glass gallery, appreciate the perspective of the Paseo de la Reforma to downtown. There is also a garden and the national astronomic observatory.

Left picture : entrance of the museum of History

From the museum, walk or take the train to the free zoo, the Zoológico de Chapultepec (open 9AM-5PM Tue-Sun / metro : Auditorio). This zoo has about 300 species of animals, among them some has epizootic, like the lynx and grey wolf of Mexico, both endangered. You can see also animals like lions, giraffes, buffalos and rhinoceros. It is possible to approach some animals and to ride ponies.

South of the Park, you can find distractions for children : la feria de Chapultepec (open daily 10AM-9PM / metro Constituyentes). In this amusement park founded in 1964, some 57 attractions are grouped on 6000 m2 and some 2 millions of visitors take advantage of it. Several packages give you the possibility of trying one or another attraction. The cheapest is the package « magico » for 35 pesos; the most expensive is the package « ecolin » for 80 pesos. For the youngest, we suggest the following rides : The glass palace, the dragon, the giant toboggan or the balls pool; for the oldest, the « Nao China », the Tower Power , the Top Spin and don't forget the Russian mountain, « la serpiente de fuego » oldest ride since the opening of the Park ! You better not being cardiac ! A big crowd on Sunday, thousands of capitalinos, mainly originally from popular classes, rush there because the prices are affordable.

The amateurs of museum will be spoiled for choice in Mexico City. Here is the most prestigious :

National Museum of Anthropology

The National Museum of Anthropology (open 9AM-7PM Tue-Sun); fee : $57, free on Sunday for residents. Guides tours between 9:30AM and 5:30PM from Tuesday to Saturday. Consult the website of Wikipedia.

Created in 1964 and renovated recently, it has been realized by the architect Pedro Ramirez Vásquez under the order of President Lopez Mateos.

national museum of anthropology"The most beautiful museum in the world", said André Malraux. It is for sure the most gripping.

The first time, you will be amazed. It comprises the “Sun Stone”, famous Aztec calendar, the giant Olmec stone heads from the jungles of Tabasco and Mayan treasures.

The amateur of Mexican history should start his visit in this museum, chef-d'oeuvre of the world museography. You need at least one full day in this paradise to be immerged in the Mesoamerican civilizations. It is built like a Mixtec edifice with four buildings surrounding a central patio. It is half covered by a huge aluminum canopy supported by a unique pillar covered with hewn stone. Water shoots out from the top and splashes down to the ground mixing coolness and beauty.

      Right picture : national museum of anthropology

See special chapter about the National Museum of Anthropology

los voladores in the park of Chapultepec In front of the museum, the voladores of Papantla give their spectacle every day several times a day.

Left picture : los voladores in the park of Chapultepec

The most important art museum in Chapultepec Park is the Museo de Arte Moderno (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun, free on Sunday), which introduces on two floors the main Mexican or foreign artists of the twentieth century. The museum is consecrated to sculpture, paining and photography. A very light and well organized inside allows an excellent presentation of collections of international and national art. Two permanent exhibits deserve a special attention: one is consecrated to the photograph Manuel Alvarez Bravo, the other one offers landscapes of José Maria Velasco. Even if he is less famous than the muralists, Velasco is an excellent painter whose work gives a nostalgic look on Mexico of the old times. There are also permanent collections of Mexican artists like Kahlo, Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros and Tamayo.

East of the museum of anthropology, a luxurious and modern building, draw by the architects Zabludosky and Gonzalez de León, hosts the Museo Rufino Tamayo (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun, $19). Among the contemporary paintings, the most remarkable are the ones of Tamayo himself, painter and sculptor of Oaxaca. Have a special look at a big portrait of his wife Olga. The museum was built in 1984 to display the collections of Tamayo. Look also at the fresco La Raza, at the entrance on the right. Paintings of other Mexican and foreign artists are also on display. Site of the museum : www.museotamayo.org.

You could also have a peaceful walk (not on weekends) on the shores of the lakes Mayor and Menor located in the park. Close to the lake Mayor, you could visit, with children, the Museo del niño–Papalote (open daily, Mon-Fri 09AM-6PM except Thursday 09AM-11PM and Sat-Sun 10AM-7PM, $99 adult, $95 under 12 year old), very interesting for children; package available with IMAX theater and planetarium). Papalote means butterfly in Náhuatl. The museum, open since 1993, comprises 350 attractions and educational workshops spread on 24 000 m2. It has an only one OBJECTIVE : Allowing everyone better understanding the human body and surrounding world, while having fun.
With five themes, five runs are proposed to the children : "I communicate", "I am", "I understand", I say" and "I belong", 5 methods to stimulate the kids under the supervision of an activity leader. Spend time to the diverse workshops like the one of modeling clay, painting, etc... And finish the visit at the planetarium and 3D theater. Click here to log on to their site.
copy of La Venta in the park

      Right picture : copy of La Venta in the park



Los Pinos

park of Chapultepec
The official residence of Los Pinos is a place charged with history. The visit will bring us into the past and present of Mexican governments. Due to its beauty, its geographic location and natural resources, kings, emperors and leaders for all time and all facets of Mexican history chose this place enclosed in the Bosque of Chapultepec to live and establish the head of government. After the Conquest, this domain was a very important economic center. And it was called the King’s mill, a name still used for a part of the Pinos.
In 1935, the General Lázaro Cárdenas is the first President to live in. He is the one who picked the name : Los Pinos.
There are in the park, water vendors and small restaurants useful because of the distances and the heat during the day.

Left picture : Chapultepec park


The northern part of the park edges Polanco, elegant neighbor where there are numerous embassies and consulates, renowned hotels and many restaurants, cafés, boutiques and department stores. It is the business neighborhood with a big Jewish and Arab community. Take advantage of your time in Polanco and visit the Museo David Alfaro Siqueiros (Tres Picos # 299) and the small Museo de Artes Gráficas Juan Pablos (Galileo # 101). In the center of this neighborhood, to one side of calle Emilio Castelar stands Parque Lincoln, housing the Teatro Angela Peralta, where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll through its ponds, under the gaze of the clock tower.
A little more towards West, in the high neighbors of Lomas de Chapultepec, Bosques de las Lomas and Santa Fe, lives the high bourgeoisie of Mexico City.

City map :  


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