Chapultepec Park, more commonly called the "Bosque de Chapultepec" (Chapultepec Forest) in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, is the largest city park in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, measuring in total just over 686 hectares. Centered on a rock formation called Chapultepec Hill, one of the park's main functions is to be an ecological space in the vast megalopolis. It is considered the first and most important of Mexico City's "lungs", with trees that replenished oxygen to the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

. The park area has been inhabited and held as special since the pre-Hispanic period, when it became a retreat for Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 rulers. In the colonial period, the Chapultepec Castle would be built here, eventually becoming the official residence of Mexican heads of state. It would remain such until 1940, when it was moved to another part of the park called Los Pinos
Los Pinos
Los Pinos is the official residence and office of the President of Mexico. Located in the Bosque de Chapultepec in central Mexico City, it became the presidential seat in 1934, when Gen...

. Today, the park is divided into three sections, with the first section being the oldest and most visited. This section contains most of the park's attractions including its zoo, the Museum of Anthropology
Museo Nacional de Antropología
The Museo Nacional de Antropología is a national museum of Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Mahatma Gandhi within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian heritage of...

, Rufino Tamayo Museum
Museo Rufino Tamayo
The Museo Rufino Tamayo is an art museum in the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, in southern Mexico.Housed in a building constructed in 1979 by the architects Teodoro González de León and Abraham Zabludovsky, the museum contains collections of pre-Columbian art once owned by artist Rufino Tamayo...

 and more. It receives an estimated 15 million visitors per year. This prompted the need for major rehabilitation efforts which began in 2005 and ended in 2010.

Characteristics of the park

Chapultepec Park, more commonly called the "Bosque de Chapultepec" (Chapultepec Forest) in Mexico, is the largest city park in Latin America, measuring in total just over 686 hectares. It is classed as one of the world's great urban parks, along with Bois de Boulogne
Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne is a park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine...

 in Paris, the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 and Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

 in New York City. The name "Chapultepec" means "at the grasshopper hill" in Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 and refers to a large rock formation that is the center of the current park's "first section". Originally, this area was a forest outside of Tenochtitlan/Mexico City considered sacred in pre-Hispanic times, but today it is entirely within the city (mostly in the borough of Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Hidalgo, D.F.
Miguel Hidalgo is one of the 16 delegaciones into which Mexico's Federal District is divided. The borough includes some of the most affluent parts of Mexico City, such as Lomas de Chapultepec and Polanco. Its population at the 2010 census was 372,889 inhabitants, and it lies at an elevation of...

), surrounded by some of its primary business and commercial districts. The park is divided into three sections, the first and oldest surrounded by fence and shut at night, and the other two left open. It contains nine museums, amusement parks, winding paths, commemorative sculptures, lakes and fountains. Paseo de la Reforma
Paseo de la Reforma
Paseo de la Reforma is a wide avenue that runs in a straight line, cutting diagonally across Mexico City. It was designed by Ferdinand von Rosenzweig in the 1860s and modeled after the great boulevards of Europe, such as Vienna's Ringstrasse or the Champs-Élysées in Paris...

 passes most of the park and cuts through a portion on the north side.

One of the park's main functions is to be an ecological space in the vast megalopolis. It is considered the first and most important of Mexico City's "lungs", with trees that replenished oxygen to the Valley of Mexico. It is a large unpaved area that allows for aquifer recharge, ameliorates the "heat-island" effect, and attracts rain. It is a refuge for migratory birds from Canada, the U.S. and other regions of Mexico, including the red-tailed falcon
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

, the Harris falcon, wild ducks, geese, and others. Anywhere from 38 to 60 species of birds can be found here including some native non migratory species such as the Yucatan canary and a type of heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

 called the "water dog". There is also more than a dozen species of reptiles and amphibians. and a number of species of all types that are in danger of extinction including the ajolote
The axolotl , Ambystoma mexicanum, is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the Tiger Salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. It is also called ajolote...

, mexcalpique, alandria
Alandria is a genus of moth in the family Arctiidae.-References:*...

s, the carpenter bird and the white-tailed hummingbird. The park is home to a large number of Montezuma cypress
Taxodium mucronatum
Taxodium mucronatum, also known as Montezuma Cypress, Sabino, or Ahuehuete is a species of Taxodium native to much of Mexico , and also the Rio Grande Valley in southernmost Texas, USA as well as Huehuetenango Department in Guatemala...

, locally called "ahuehuete" trees, with some hundreds of year old, many were planted by the Aztecs. There are also 165 other species, mostly in the third section. It is estimated by city authorities that 100 million pesos
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

 are needed annually to maintain the ecology of the park.

For Mexico City residents, the park is valued as a cultural and historic area as well as green space. The area has vestiges showing human presence as far back as the Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

s with a number ruins from both the pre-Hispanic through the colonial period. Archeological studies have unearthed and identified tombs associated with Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

, a Toltec altar on the summit of Chapultepec Hill, vestiges of a colonial era aqueduct
Chapultepec aqueduct
The Chapultepec aqueduct is an aqueduct originally built at Chapultepec by the Aztecs during the Tenochtitlan era; its original name was simply the “Great Aqueduct.” What remains of the aqueduct today is located in Mexico City near Metro Sevilla....

, paths associated with Nezahualcoyotl
Nezahualcoyotl was a philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler of the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian Mexico...

 and an area where Aztec priests ingested peyote as part of religious rites. One notable site is the Baths of Moctezuma, what was a systems of tanks, reservoirs, canals and waterfalls constructed by the Aztecs. The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia has the park, as well as the Castle of Chapultepec on the hill listed as Mexican heritage sites, and has submitted the area for consideration as a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...


The park received an estimated 15 million visitors each year, and daily visits have exceeded 250,000. Sunday is the most popular day to visit as the museums are free, and many Mexican families will spend the entire day in one or more sections, walking, seeing the attractions and picnicking or grilling. Despite its local popularity, however, foreign visitors usually only see the small fraction near the museums. The park is easy to get to via public transportation. Metro Lines 1
Mexico City Metro Line 1
Mexico City Metro Line 1 is one of the 16 metro lines built in Mexico City, Mexico. It was the first to be built, the identifying color is pink and runs through the city from west to east....

 and 7 have stations at park entrances to the east and south respectively. Several bus lines along Paseo de la Reforma.

First section

The oldest and most visited portion of the park is called the "first section". It is the most developed area with a wrought iron fence and gates that extend around its perimeter. These fences mostly separate it from the streets that form its boundaries: Avenida Constituyentes, Paseo de la Reforma, Avenida Chivatito and the Anillo Periférico
Anillo Periférico
The Anillo Periférico is the name given to the outer beltway of Mexico City. The beltway gained major media attention when the Mexico City mayor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, started a project to turn a southern section of the ring into a two-story highway...

. The interior measures 274.03 hectares, with 182 of this undeveloped green space. It contains most of the best known of the park's attractions such as the Lago Menor (Small Lake), the Nezahuacoyotl Fountain, the Fuente de las Ranas, the Quixote Fountain, the Templanza Fountain, the Altar a la Patria, the Niños Héroes Obelisk, the Monumento a las Águilas Caídas (Monument to Fallen Eagles), The Ahuehuete and the Baths of Moctezuma. The best known museums are here as well including Museo Nacional de Historia-Chapultepec Castle, the Casa del Lago (UNAM), the Auditorio Nacional, the Centro Cultural del Bosque, the Museo de Antropologia, the Rufino Tamayo Museum and the Modern Art Museum. It also contains the Zoo
Chapultepec Zoo
-References:* - * on the Zoo at "Giant Panda"* of the Zoo at "Mexico Desconocido Online"* at "The Good Zoo Guide Online"...

, the Jardin de Tercera Edad and the Audiorama. These are connected by various paved paths, many of which have names such as the Avenue of the Poets, which is lined with bronze busts of famous literary figures. It also has living trees which are hundreds of years old.

This section of the park also contains the geological formation that gave the park/forest its name: Chapultepec Hill. It is a formation of volcanic rock and andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

, which is common in the Valley of Mexico and contains small caves and sand deposits. "Chapultepec" in Nahuatl means "grasshopper hill" but it is not clear whether the "Chapul" (grasshopper) part refers to the shape of the hill, or the abundance of grasshoppers in the surrounding woods. This hill was considered special during the pre-Hispanic period from the Toltecs in the 12th century to the Aztecs up to the time of the Conquest by the Spanish. Remains of a Toltec altar have been found at the top of the hill, a number of burials and its use was reserved only for Aztec emperors
Tlatoani is the Nahuatl term for the ruler of an altepetl, a pre-Hispanic state. The word literally means "speaker", but may be translated into English as "king". A is a female ruler, or queen regnant....

 and other elite. After the Conquest, a small chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael was built on the hill by Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega was a Spanish architect and sculptor. He designed the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral and possibly the Puebla Cathedral....

 in the middle of the 16th century. In the 18th century, the Spanish built the Chapultepec Castle, which initially was a summer retreat for viceroys. After Independence, the Castle remained for the elite, becoming the official resident of the Mexico's heads of state, including the Emperor Maximilian, who had the Paseo de la Reforma built to connect this area with the historic center of the city. During this time, the Castle and the gardens around it were enlarged and embellished a number of times, giving the Castle a floorspace of 10,000m2. The most outstanding of the patios and garden is the Alcázar. In 1940, the president's residence was moved to the nearby Los Pinos complex and the castle was converted into the Museum of History, under the auspices of the federal government, along with the rest of the hill. The museum contains twelve rooms which are open to the public, many of which as they were when the Emperor Maximilian lived there. It also contains a collection of furniture from the colonial period to the 19th century, utensils, suits, coins, manuscripts, sculptures in clay ivory and silver and many other art works. A number of items belongs to figures such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, José María Morelos y Pavón, Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

, Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

, Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

 and others. In addition, there are murals by José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others...

, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

 and Juan O'Gorman
Juan O'Gorman
Juan O'Gorman was a Mexican painter and architect.-Biography:O'Gorman was born in Coyoacán, then a village to the south of Mexico City and now a borough of the Federal District, to an Irish father, Cecil Crawford O'Gorman and a Mexican mother...

. At the foot of the hill, there is a large monument to the Niños Héroes
Niños Héroes
The Niños Héroes , also known as the Heroic Cadets or Boy Soldiers, were six Mexican teenage military cadets. These cadets died defending Mexico at Mexico City's Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces in the 13 September 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican–American War...

 also called the Altar a la Patria, who threw themselves to their death here rather than surrender to invading U.S. troops in 1847. This monument consist of six marble columns surrounding a mausoleum with the remains of the six cadets, and a figure of a woman who represents Mexico.
The Chapultepec Zoo
Chapultepec Zoo
-References:* - * on the Zoo at "Giant Panda"* of the Zoo at "Mexico Desconocido Online"* at "The Good Zoo Guide Online"...

 is the most visited attraction of the park, especially on Sundays when many Mexico City families come; it is estimated that half of all park visitors come to the zoo. The zoo was established by its Alfonso L. Herrera
Alfonso L. Herrera
Alfonso Luis Herrera was a Mexican biologist, author, educator and founder of several institutions in Mexico City. He conducted research into the origin of life in an attempt to develop a new, experimental science which he called Plasmogeny....

, a biologist, and opened in 1924. Herrera's intention was to reestablish the zoo tradition of the old Aztecs emperors and improve upon it. He began with species native to Mexico and then added others from the rest of the world. Native animals came from states such as Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

, Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

 and Campeche
Campeche is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Located in Southeast Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Yucatán to the north east, Quintana Roo to the east, and Tabasco to the south west...

, with foreign animals from India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, France, Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and the United States. He modeled the zoo after the "Giardino Zoológico e Museo de Zoología del Comune di Roma" in Rome, Italy. Between 1950 and 1960, the zoo expanded, adding new species. In 1975, the zoo obtained two panda
Panda or Panda bear most often refers to:*Giant panda, an animal in the Bear familyPanda may also refer to:*Red panda, the only living member in the Ailuridae family-In biology:* Species related to the Giant panda...

s from China. Since then, eight panda cubs have been born at the zoo, making it the first institution outside of China to breed the species. From 1992 to 1994, the zoo was completely remodeled, categorizing exhibits by habitat rather than type of species. Some of the most important Mexican species at the facility include a rabbit native to only a few volcanoes in Mexico, zacatuche (or teporingo)
Volcano Rabbit
The Volcano Rabbit also known as teporingo or zacatuche is a small rabbit that resides in the mountains of Mexico. It is the world's second smallest rabbit, second only to the Pygmy Rabbit. It has small rounded ears, short legs, and short, thick fur. The Volcano Rabbit lives in groups of 2 to 5...

, the Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf
The Mexican Wolf is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. It is native to North America, where it is the rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies.- Physical features :...

, ocelot
The ocelot , pronounced /ˈɒsəˌlɒt/, also known as the dwarf leopard or McKenney's wildcat is a wild cat distributed over South and Central America and Mexico, but has been reported as far north as Texas and in Trinidad, in the Caribbean...

, jaguar
The jaguar is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico...

 and ajolote
The axolotl , Ambystoma mexicanum, is a neotenic salamander, closely related to the Tiger Salamander. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. It is also called ajolote...

. Today, it has 16,000 animals of 270 species, separated into four sections according to habitat: tropical forest, temperate forest, desert and grassland. About one third of the animals are native to Mexico.

Most of the museums in the first section are located along Paseo de la Reforma. Of all of the museums in the park, the most famous is the National Museum of Anthropology, considered to be one of the greatest archeological museums in the world. The museum has a number of antecedents beginning from the colonial period, but the current institution was created in the 1960s with the building and grounds designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez
Pedro Ramírez Vázquez
Pedro Ramírez Vázquez is a late twentieth century Mexican architect. He was born in Mexico City. He was persuaded to study architecture by writer and poet Carlos Pellicer....

. This museum has an area of 44,000m2 and 25 exhibit halls with sections devoted to each of the major pre-Hispanic civilizations in Mexico including the Aztec, Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

, Toltec and Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

. The permanent collection is so large, that it is possible to spend an entire day to see it. There are also temporary exhibits as well.
The Rufino Tamayo Museum
Museo Rufino Tamayo
The Museo Rufino Tamayo is an art museum in the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, in southern Mexico.Housed in a building constructed in 1979 by the architects Teodoro González de León and Abraham Zabludovsky, the museum contains collections of pre-Columbian art once owned by artist Rufino Tamayo...

 is in the first section on Paseo de la Reforma. The permanent collection mostly focuses on the namesake, but there are also works by other Mexican and foreign artists that Tamayo donated. During his lifetime, Tamayo collected one of the most important collections of 20th century art, which includes names such as Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

, Picasso, Miró
Miro may refer to:* Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, a reformist Iranian political organization* Prumnopitys ferruginea, an evergreen coniferous tree endemic to New Zealand.* Miro Technologies, an MRO supplier from California...

, Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero
Fernando Botero Angulo is a Colombian figurative artist. His works feature a figurative style, called by some "Boterismo", which gives them an unmistakable identity...

, Magritte, and about 100 others.
The Museum of Modern Art is located on Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Gandhi with various temporary exhibits. It is house in a complex of modern architecture, which consists of two circular buildings surrounding a sculpture garden. It contains one of the best collections of modern art of the 20th century of Mexico. Artists include Dr. Atl
Dr. Atl
Gerardo Murillo was a Mexican painter and writer who signed his works "Dr. Atl". He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, where he began the study of painting at an early age, under Felipe Castro...

, Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo
Remedios Varo Uranga was a Spanish-Mexican, para-surrealist painter and anarchist. She was born María de los Remedios Varo Uranga in Anglès, Girona, Spain in 1908. During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the surrealist movement...


The Casa de Cultura Quinta Colorada is located in the former accommodation for the forest rangers of the area in the early 20th century. The house is in European style and house various cultural activities as well as a small planetarium.

At the foot of the Chapultepec Hill is an extension of the Museum of History called the Museo del Caracol. This museum narrates the history of Mexico in the winding form of a snail, the shape of the building from which its name comes.

The Museo Casa Luis Barragan is the former home of architect Luis Barragán
Luis Barragán
Luis Barragán Morfin was a Mexican architect. He was self-trained.-Early life:Educated as an engineer, he graduated from the Escuela Libre de Ingenieros in Guadalajara in 1923 and was self-trained as an architect.After graduation, he travelled through Spain, France , and...

. The house has been preserved nearly intact as it was 1948, including the workshop. It also exhibits artworks from the 19th and 20th century.

One of the most popular features in the first section is an artificial lake called the Lago Menor (Smaller Lake). It is one of two lakes, with the larger Lago Major in the second section. However, this smaller lake is the better known and more popular, as paddleboats and small rowboats can be rented. The Lago Menor was created at the late 19th century, when the entire first section (then the entire park) was redesigned. At the same time, the Casa del Lago was constructed as well. It is shallow with an average depth of a little over one meter. The Casa del Lago, also called the Restauranto del Lago is now a restaurant that serves continental food and some Mexican dishes.

In addition to the lake there are a number of large fountains. The Quixote fountain is surrounded four benches covered in tile with images from Don Quixote. To the side of this plaza, there are two columns. On the right there is a figure of Quixote with the face of Salvador Dali
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

 and on the other side, there is a depiction of Sancho Panza
Sancho Panza
Sancho Panza is a fictional character in the novel Don Quixote written by Spanish author Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1605. Sancho acts as squire to Don Quixote, and provides comments throughout the novel, known as sanchismos, that are a combination of broad humour, ironic Spanish proverbs,...

 with the face of Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

. Both statues were made of bronze by José María Fernández Urbina. The Fuente de las Ranas (Fountain of the Frogs) was created in the 1920s, by Miguel Alessio Robles in Seville, Spain. The Nezahualcoyotl Fountain was inaugurated in 1956. It measures 1,250m2 and surrounds a statue of the Aztec ruler nine meters tall in black stone.

Throughout the first section there are trees, the most famous of which are the Montezuma cypress, locally called "ahuehuetes". A number of these are hundreds of years old, although there are far fewer due to a past disease epidemic. One dead specimen is called the Ahuehuete of Moctezuma, El Sargento (The Sargeant) or Centinela (Sentinel). The last two names were given by cadets of the country's military school, the Colegio Militar
Heroic Military Academy (Mexico)
The Heroic Military College is a military educational institution founded in Mexico in 1823 in the former Palace of the Inquisition, under the name Cadet Academy taken in 1823 the name of Colegio Militar, settling in Perote, Veracruz, to return to Mexico City and occupied the Betlemitas monastery...

 in the 19th century. The tree remains as a monument to the area's history, measuring fifteen meters high, forty in circumference and lived 500 years. Another tree of the species, still living, is El Tlatoani, which is about 700 years old and is the oldest resident of the park. In addition to these trees, there are sequoias, cedars, palms, white poplar
White Poplar
Populus alba, commonly called abele, silver poplar, silverleaf poplar, or white poplar, is a species of poplar, most closely related to the aspens . It is native from Spain and Morocco through central Europe to central Asia...

s, pines, gingkos and more.

Los Pinos
Los Pinos
Los Pinos is the official residence and office of the President of Mexico. Located in the Bosque de Chapultepec in central Mexico City, it became the presidential seat in 1934, when Gen...

 has been the official residence of the presidents of Mexico since 1940 and it is considered to be part of the park although there is no public access. The residence is a white stucco structure which can be seen from the nearby Periferico or from the Molino del Rey, a former millhouse and site of a battle of the Mexican American War in 1847
Battle of Molino del Rey
The Battle of Molino del Rey was one of the bloodiest engagements of the Mexican-American War. It was fought in September 1847 between Mexican forces under General Antonio Léon against an American force under General Winfield Scott at a hill called El Molino del Rey near Mexico City.-Background:On...

. Los Pinos is on one edge of the park.

The National Auditorium
National Auditorium
National Auditorium is an entertainment centre located at Paseo de la Reforma #50, Chapultepec in Mexico City right in front of the Polanco hotel zone next to Campo Marte....

 is one of Mexico City's principal arenas primarily hosting musical ensembles and dance troupes. Prominent singers from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin American perform here regularly, as well as occasional American artists. The park hosts a number of cultural events during the year. The best known of this is the regular performance of Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

, on a stage over park of the Lago Menor, using the Chapultepec Castle as a backdrop. This performance has been given since 1978 in warmer months. Night tours of the first section in the train that circuits the park is popular around Christmas time, when many of the attractions are lit for the season. The Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Ballet Folklórico de México is a folkloric ballet ensemble in Mexico City. For five decades it has presented dances in costumes that reflect the traditional culture of Mexico...

 also holds performances on occasion at the Chapultepec Castle.

Second section

The second section of the park was created in 1964 taking over lands which used to be farm. Today, it is separated from the first section by the Anillo Periférico road and measures 160.02 hectares. It is not as developed as the first section but it is also dedicated to recreational activities. It also contains the Lago Mayor lake, which contains the Monumental Fountain, the largest in Latin America and is surrounded by several restaurants and cafes. Nearby are the Compositores, Xochipilli and Las Serpientes fountains.

The area contains jogging trails, places for yoga and karate and other exercise facilities among the trees. It is estimated that 1,000 people each day come here to exercise. The jogging trails were doubled from 2 km to 4 km in the late 2000s.

One part of this section is dominated by the Feria de Chapultepec
La Feria Chapultepec Mágico
La Feria Chapultepec Mágico is an amusement park in Mexico City, Mexico. Located in Chapultepec Park, it opened in 1964 as Juegos Mecánicos de Chapultepec and was operated by the Mexican government...

 amusement park, located near the Lago Mayor, just off the Anillo Periférico. The park has a capacity of 15,000 people and is visited by about two million each year. It includes several roller coasters including the Montaña Infinitum, which contains three loops.

This section contains museums such as El Papalote, the Museo Tecnológico de la CFE and the Museo de Historia Natural. El Papalote (means "the kite") is an interactive children's museum which invites children to touch and manipulate the exhibits, with tours guided by adolescents. The exhibits are divided thematically with names such as "Soy" (I am), "Comunico" (I communicate) and "Pertenezco" (I belong). There are temporary exhibits as well as an IMAX theater for special videos. The Museo Tecnológico de la CFE (CFE Technology Museum) consists of four very large halls which exhibits modern advances in technology. In its surrounding gardens, there are old locomotives, railcars and tracks. It also contains an auditorium for events and a planetarium. The Museo de Historia Natural (Museum of Natural History focuses mostly on the origins of life with its permanent exhibits. It also hosts temporary exhibits and academic conferences.

The Cárcamo de Tlaloc or Cárcamo del Río Lerma was built between 1942 and 1952, to capture water sent to the Valley of Mexico from the Lerma River basin in the Toluca Valley. The major parts open to the public consist of a pavilion, covered with an orange half cupola and a fountain with an image of Tlaloc. Originally, the water was stored underground and pumped to the surface when needed. The main building has serpent heads on the four corners and there is a mural painted by Diego Rivera called "El Agua Origen de la Vida".

In 2010, the second section of the park underwent rehabilitation, funded in part by a prívate charity called Probosque de Chapultepec. Most of the work was done on the jogging track, the Tlaloc Fountain, the Cárcamo de Dolores building, the mural "El Agua, Origen de la Vida" and the construction of an agora. These works together form the Museo Jardín del Agua (Water Garden Museum). In addition a large number of dead or diseased trees were removed and about 800 new ones planted.

Third section

The third section of the park is located on the west side of the second and was inaugurated in 1974 with a surface area of 242.9 hectares. It is the least developed and the least known area, filled with trees wildlife and silence. Although some recreational activities such as archery and horseback riding are practiced here, the importance of this area is primarily as a ecological preserve for various species of flora and fauna, such as snakes and lizards. In 1992, it was decreed as a Protected Natural Area. In 2010, there were reports of feral dogs attacking visitors in the third section. There are an estimated 150 feral dogs living in the small canyon areas of this section.


According to archeological studies, there has been human presence since at least the pre-Classic period with the first identified culture in evidence that of the Toltecs. It was they who gave the area the name of "grasshopper hill" which would become Chapultepec. Remains of a Toltec altar have been found on the hill's summit. In the Classic Period, the area was occupied by people of the Teotihucan culture. When the Mexicas, or Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico, it was inhabited by a people called the Tepanecas of Azcapotzalco
Azcapotzalco (altepetl)
Azcapotzalco was a pre-Columbian Nahua altepetl , capital of the Tepanec empire, in the Valley of Mexico, on the western shore of Lake Texcoco.The name Azcapotzalco means "at the anthill" in Nahuatl...


When the Aztecs took over the Valley of Mexico, they considered the Hill as both a sacred and strategic site. They began to use the area as a repository for the ashes of their rulers, and the area's springs became an important source of fresh water for the capital of Tenochtitlan. Eventually, the area became a retreat strictly limited to the ruling and religious elite. In the 1420s, ruler Nezahualcoyotl was the first to build a palace in the area. Moctezuma Xocoyotzin built reservoirs to raise exotic fish and to store water. He also had trees and plants from various parts of the Aztec Empire planted here. In 1465, Moctezuma Ilhuicanima ordered his portrait carved into a rock at the foot of the hill and constructed the Tlaxpana aqueduct, which measured three km.

During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, one of the last battles between the Spanish and ruler Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc was the Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521...

 occurred at Chapultepec Hill in 1521. Shortly thereafter, the Franciscans built a small hermitage over the indigenous altar on Chapultepec Hill. Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 appropriated Chapultepec and granted the northern portion to Captain Julian Jaramillo, who would become the husband of La Malinche
La Malinche
La Malinche , known also as Malintzin, Malinalli or Doña Marina, was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, acting as interpreter, advisor, lover and intermediary for Hernán Cortés...

. However, in 1530, Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 decreed the area as the property of the City of Mexico and open to all. The Spanish continued to use the Aztec aqueduct but in 1771, another one was deemed necessary for the growing Mexico City. The Chapultepec aqueduct
Chapultepec aqueduct
The Chapultepec aqueduct is an aqueduct originally built at Chapultepec by the Aztecs during the Tenochtitlan era; its original name was simply the “Great Aqueduct.” What remains of the aqueduct today is located in Mexico City near Metro Sevilla....

 lead from the springs of the forest to an area in what was the south of the city called Salto del Agua
Metro Salto del Agua
Metro Salto del Agua is a metro station on the Mexico City Metro. It is located in the Cuauhtémoc borough in the centre of Mexico City....

, flowing over 904 arches and 3,908 meters. In 1785, the Franciscan hermitage was demolished to make way for the Chapultepec Castle, converting the hill and the forest around it into a summer retreat for colonial viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

s. The area was walled off from the general public and was the scene of elegant parties.

After Mexico achieved Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 in 1821, the Castle became the official residence of the head of state. A number of these, especially Emperor Maximilian I and his wife, embellished and expanded the castle as well as the forest area around it. The Hill was also the site of the Battle of Chapultepec
Battle of Chapultepec
The Battle of Chapultepec, in September 1847, was a United States victory over Mexican forces holding Chapultepec Castle west of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.-Background:On September 13, 1847, in the costly Battle of Molino del Rey, U.S...

 in 1847, between Mexican and U.S. troops led by General Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

. A band of cadets were at the Castle when it was attacked and near the end of the battle, six of them decided to jump to their deaths from the castle on the hill to the rocks below. These six are referred to as the "Niños Héroes" and are honored by a monument near where their bodies fell. The castle remain the official residence of Mexican presidents until 1940, when this function as moved to the Los Pinos residence and the Castle was converted into a museum.

Since then, the park was expanded twice, adding the second section in 1964 and the third section ten years later. Since then, the focus has been on the maintenance of the area. By 1998, the paths of the park, especially in the first section, were saturated with over 3,000 peddlers with few regulations or norms. In 2005, the first section of the park was closed for renovations, effectively evicting all vendors from it. When it reopened months later, permits for selling were strictly limited and continuing operations by police and other authorities are aimed at keeping vending in the park itself strictly limited. However, a number still manage to sell illegally, keeping watch for authorities and even communicating among themselves with radios. At the entrances to the park, where the rules are not in places, vendors still crowd, partially blocking entrances and even covering signs to the most direct entrances so that visitors need to wade through labyrinths of vendors to find an entrance.

Maintenance issues have closed parts of the park from time to time, such as in 1985, to exterminate rats and other pests. However, by 2005, the park was filled with trees in poor condition, scum in the lakes and fountains and mountains of trash. From that year until 2010, the park was closed section by section for restoration and rehabilitation projects. The first section was closed for eight months in 2005, for work that included dredging lakes, pruning and removing trees, picking up tons of debris and expelling hundreds of vendors. Shortly thereafter, projects on the second and third sections of the park began, mostly to control or eliminate rats, feral dogs and cats, pigeons and other introduced species. As of 2005, migratory birds began to make a comeback at the park with the eradication and relocation of introduced species such as geese and ducks which were aggressive to other species. The park hosts more than 100 species of this kind of bird, with some reproducing here for the first time in decades. Other native mammals have returned as well, including the tlacuache
Virginia Opossum
The Virginia opossum , commonly known as the North American opossum or tlacuache in Mexico, is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist...

 and the cacomistle
The cacomistle is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will range into drier deciduous forests.Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common...

. In 2010, projects include renovating jogging tracks, and planting more than 800 trees including acacia café, pino azul, pno peñonero, holm oak, pino moctezuma, pino prieto and grevilia as well as the removal of dead or severely infected trees. These rehabilitation efforts of the 2000s, were funded by a combination of government and private funds, by groups such as Probosque.

External links

Website with current event schedules and historical articles & images about Chapultepec.
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