Chapultepec Park, Mexico City Bosque de Chapultepec
The Bosque de Chapultepec (Náhuatl, "hill of the grasshoppers") is Mexico City's principal park and, with an area of 4sq.km/2.5sq.mi, its largest. It was once a stronghold of the Toltecs, and the Toltec ruler, Huémec, is said to have hanged himself here in 1177 after fleeing from Tula. In 1200 the Aztecs (Mexica) settled on the hill after their long wanderings but were driven away again twenty years later by neighbouring tribes.
The National Museum of Anthropology is housed in a contemporary building and is one of Mexico's best museums. The museum focuses on both extinct and contemporary Indian cultures.
National History Museum
On the top of a hill in the south-east corner of the park towers Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), access to which is on foot, by bus or by lift.Chapultepec Castle was built at the end of the 18th c. by the Spanish Viceroy Conde de Gálvez, as a summer residence, on a site once occupied by Aztec buildings and later by a Spanish hermitage. In 1841 it became a military academy, which six years later was to be the last Mexican stronghold against U.S. troops. Maximilian and Charlotte made the castle their residence and carried out various alterations in 1864-65. The dictator Porfirio Díaz also used it as a summer residence from 1884 onwards.In 1944 Chapultepec Castle finally became the National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia). The Museum's nineteen rooms contain, in addition to a collection of pre-Columbian material and reproductions of old manuscripts, a vast range of exhibits illustrating the history of Mexico since the Spanish conquest. These include arms and armour, documents, maps and plans of the Conquest period and its immediate aftermath; furniture, ceramics, clothing, jewellery and coins from three centuries; relics and souvenirs of the struggle for independence and the revolutionary wars; portraits of leading figures in Mexican history; frescos by Orozco, Siqueiros and O"Gorman, and a number of state carriages, including those used by Benito Juárez and the Emperor Maximilian. The apartments occupied by Maximilian and Charlotte, decorated in Neo-Classical style, contain the furniture which they brought from Europe.From the castle there is a superb view of the city on a fine day.
Museo Rufino Tamayao (Tamayo)
Just east of the National Museum of Anthropology, at the corner of Paseo de la Reforma and Calzada Gandhi, lies the Museo Rufino Tamayao, named after Rufino Tamayo (1900-91), one of Mexico's most famous painters. Designed by Abraham Zabludovsky and Teodore González with a most unusual interior, the building was officially opened in 1981. In addition to his own works it also displays Tamayo's own collection of several hundred works by contemporary artists, including prints, paintings, sculptures, wall-hangings, etc.
Museum of Modern Art
On the east side of Chapultepec Park, to the left of Paseo de la Reforma, stands the important Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno), designed by Rafael Mijares and Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and opened in 1964. Apart from a retrospective look at Mexican art before and during the colonial period, the museum is notable primarily for its collection of pictures and sculpture by Mexican artists of the 19th and 20th c. There are also periodic special exhibitions of work by Mexican and foreign artists.
A little to the east of Lago del Nuevo Bosque lies the Amusement Park, with a big dipper, and further to the south-west the modern Museum of Natural History (Museo de Historia Natural), the Museum of Technology (Museo Tecnológico) and a cemetery, the Panteón de Dolores.The amusement park set amidst Chapultepec Park features over 50 rides and attractions.
Monument to Young Heroes
Just south of the Museum of Modern Art can be seen the Monumento a los Niños Héroes (Monument to the Young Heroes), a semicircular structure of six columns decorated with fountains. It commemorates the last stand by the six young cadets in Chapultepec Castle during the siege by U.S. forces in 1847. The sculpture shows a mother holding her dying soldier son in her arms, surrounded by six marble columns with bronze torches representing the six cadets.
Gallery of History
The road down from the castle leads past the round, white building of the Galería de Historia (Gallery of History), where showcases depicting Mexican history from the time of the independence struggles (1810-21) up to the present day may be studied. Entrance to the gallery is on the upper floor, with a spiral passage leading down to the lower floor.
Museo Sala de Arte Público David Àlfaro Siqueiros
In the residential quarter (colonia) north of the National Museum of Anthropology the visitor will find a museum known as the Museo Sala de Arte Público David Àlfaro Siqueiros, named after the artist of that name. In the house which formerly belonged to the Siqueiros family pictures, drawings, photographs and documents by this famous mural painter and member of the Communist Party are on display.
Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo
An impressive building of red marble near the Hotel Presidente Chapultepec on Calle Campos Eliseos houses the new Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo belonging to the television company Televisa. The museum displays pre-Spanish art as well as contemporary Mexican and foreign painting and photography.
This building is home to Diego Rivera's mural El Agua. The mural was originally intended to be viewed underwater as this building collected water for the higher regions of the city. The fountain out front, the Fountain of Tlaloc, was also made by Rivera.
Lago del Nuevo Bosque
West of Calzado Molino and of the Anillo Periférico stretches the newest part of Chapultepec Park together with the artficial lake known as Lago del Nuevo Bosque. South of this will be found the Fuente Lerma, a fountain with a basin containing an underwater mosaic by Diego Rivera.
Museo del Niño
Just outside Chapultepec Park, on the Avda. Constituyentes, are the very new, highly original, Pápalote Museo del Niño (No. 268), a high-tec children's museum to which adults are admitted only if accompanied by a child, and a lienzo charro in which Mexican rodeos (charreadas) are regularly held (No. 500).
North of the Castle lies Lago Antiguo, a lake divided into two by the Gran Avenida. On its west bank stands the Casa del Lago ("House on the Lake"), now belonging to the University and used for certain courses and cultural events.
Between the lake and Calzada Molino on its west bank lie the Zoo (Parque Zoológico), one of the only zoos outside China in which giant pandas have successfully been bred, and the excellent Botanic Garden (Jardín Botánico). In the newer part of the park is the Auditorio Nacional, a huge hall with accommodation for 15,000 spectators, which is used for cultural events, sporting contests and so on.
Fountain of Netzahualcóyotl
South-west of Lago Antiguo lies the Fountain of Netzahualcóyotl (Fuente de Netzahualcóyotl), commemorating the ruler of Texcoco who also made a name for himself as a poet and philosopher.
Museum of Natural History
The Natural History Museum is housed in the Castle of Chapultepec, a structure which has served as everything from a military academy to the home of the Mexican president. The museum specializes in Mexican art and culture.
Address: Nuevo Bosque de Chapultepec 2da Sección, Mexico
Opening hours: 10am-4pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $1.50
The Calzado Molino cuts through the park from north to south and thence to Los Pinos ("The Pine Trees"), the official residence of the presidents of Mexico.
Visitors of the Technological Museum get to discover the various aspects of generating energy. Exhibits and displays also focus on the history of transportation.
Atlantis offers shows featuring performing dolphins and birds.
Map of Mexico City Attractions