If you ever decide to pack your bags and head south of the border, then you should make sure to visit Bosque de Chapultepec. Chapultepec is a park that is in one of the busiest parts of Mexico City and it has a lot of things for people to do. You can find different museums, live performances, food, shopping or just a place to relax in a bench by the trees. All the activities and places to visit make this park one of the best things about Mexico City. Here are some of the highlights of Bosque de Chapultepec.
Mexico City Zoo
The Zoo at Bosque de Chapultepec is the most complete and the most visited in the country. The zoo keeps a lot of different animals from all over the world and it is one that is very similar to some of the best zoos in the bigger cities. Animals have a lot of space and the displays make them easy to see. There are also animals here from all over the country and one of the best bird areas in a zoo that you will ever see. There is a total of over 250 species housed at Chapultepec. Unlike most animal conservation areas the food inside is not expensive, and since it is free admission visiting is a very affordable way to spend a day in Mexico City.
The easiest way to get to the zoo is by going to the Auditorio Metro station, as the Chapultepec Metro will leave you on the other side of the park. From the metro station walk north 4 blocks and the zoo will be to your right.
The Botanical Garden at the park is an important attraction in Mexico City. Here you will find a lot of different plants native to the country including the Arboretum and the Orquidario where you will see over 200 different plant species. The botanical garden is fairly new as it opened in 2006 and it has become a top attraction in the Bosque. The signs are only in Spanish, but the gardens are still worth seeing if you like to learn about the flora in a particular region.
Walking it takes a couple of hours and if you love to learn about plant life i can take a bit more. There are a few benches close to the gardens if you want to have a picnic. The gardens are between the Museum of Modern art and the lake.
Castillo De Chapultepec
The Chapultepec Castle is another very important site in the Bosque and one of the better places to learn about Mexico City and its history. Today the castle is a museum, but for a time it was home to the presidents of Mexico. The castle took ten years to complete (from 1778 to 1788), and was abandoned after the Mexican independence until 1833 when it became a military college. This was the place where the famous “Niños Heroes” (boy heroes) died during the Mexican American war and there is a monument at the park that honors them.
From the castle you get a great view of the park and part of Mexico City so make sure to bring your camera. Mos people come into the museum from the street side, but you can also go up from the park and reach it at the top.If you are getting off at the Chapultepec station you will see the castle just past the Niños Heroes monument.
Museo De Arte Moderno
The Modern art Museum has many important works by famous artists including Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Jose Chavez Morado, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. It is to the right of the monument to the Niños Heroes if you are coming from the Chapultepec station.
Lago Mayor Y Menor
There is a lake in the middle of the first section of the park where you can choose to sit by and relax, grab a bite, or rent a boat to go around the lake. Renting the boat is not that expensive as you can get one for about $5 an hour. The food at the stands to the north of the lake are really hit or miss with some offering great affordable food while others will serve mediocre meals. It is better to bring food if you do not know where to eat. Also keep in mind that feeding the wildlife in the park is not allowed even if you see the locals doing it.
Take A Free Tour
When you arrive through the Chapultepec station you will see that there are free tours. Those are available at no charge, but tours in English though available are not very common. You can also take a ride through the park instead of walking it for 15 pesos or close to $1.50. That is a better option for people who do not want to walk the length of the park. Keep in mind that the park is actually very big and walking it can take hours. Maps are also available by the entrance and those who do not want to walk will also have the option of renting a Segway.
Other things that you will want to visit at the park include:
- Baños de Moctezuma: Tradition says that this was the bath of the Aztec emperor.
- Calzada de los Poetas: Monuments to some of the most famous poets from the country.
- Totem Canadience: A monument which was donated by the Canadian government.
- Museo del Caracol: One of the best museums to learn about Mexico City and its history with paintings and pictures depicting the country’s history.
It is also important to say that the Museo de Antropologia is right next to the park. This is the most visited museum in Mexico City and you should set aside a whole day to see it all.