Chapultepec Park is the largest and most visited park in Mexico City. On Sunday, rather than drive anywhere, Alejandro and I decided to simply walk over to the park. I have been to Chapultepec countless times during the course of my many trips to Mexico City, but it had been a long time since I had visited on a Sunday. Believe me, this was no peaceful stroll through the forest. On Sundays the park is thronged with families. It may not be a relaxing time to visit, but it is a great day for people watching and to soak up the carnival-like atmosphere.
I asked Alejandro how many people he thought were in the park. He said maybe 5,000. I said I thought that there were a lot more than that. Well, I did some research and discovered that Chapultepec receives an estimated 15,000,000 visitors each year. That would average out (since the park is closed on Mondays) to nearly 50,000 people per day... and weekend attendance is much higher than during the weekdays. It is estimated that on some days the park has 250,000 visitors!
The main paths through the park are lined with stands selling trinkets (mostly made in China, I would guess).
"Lucha libre" wrestling masks are a popular item.
Of course there are plenty of snacks to eat.
Although I had visited Chapultepec Zoo on my last visit to Mexico City, Alejandro had not been there in more than twenty years, so that's where we headed. It too was very crowded. Although foreign tourists primarily go to the museums in the park, for Mexican families, the zoo is the most visited attraction. It is estimated that one half of all visitors to Chapultepec go to "el zoológico".
Admission to the zoo is free, but there is a fee to enter the butterfly house / insectarium and the herpetarium. I had not been to the butterfly house on my previous visit, so we paid to go inside. There are all kinds of butterflies, but it's next to impossible to photograph them as they quickly flutter from spot to spot. About the only place where you can get a good photo is at the plates of fruit set out where some of the species pause to feed.
Before you leave the building. you must check yourself out in front of mirrors to be sure that no butterflies are hitching a ride on your clothing. Sure enough, Alejandro had one on his shirt sleeve.
It was nearly 5:00 when we left the zoo. Beyond the zoo exit is this beautiful carousel. Look at it carefully. I had never seen one before that has two levels.
After about seven hours of walking we were exhausted, but it was a fun day!