Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bicentennial Park

One day on the Mexico City Forum on Trip Advisor someone mentioned "Parque Bicentenario", a place in the city which I had never visited.  I looked it up on Google Maps and discovered that, although it was removed from the main tourist area, it was next to a stop on the Metro line that runs closest to the apartment where I stay.  

So last Friday that was my destination.  The park is located in a largely industrial area of the city.  In fact it is located on the site where a refinery once stood.  As the name implies, it was built in 2010 for the bicentennial of Mexico's independence.

As you entered the park, the first area is a fairly large botanical garden.  There are three glass structures, each one housing vegetation from a different climatic environment... mountain cloud forest, tropical rainforest, and desert.

There is also an outdoor recreation of "chinampas", a agricultural method that predates the Aztecs.  Back when much of the Valley of Mexico was covered with a shallow lake, the natives would create islands for farming by piling dirt upon reed mats that were staked to the lake bottom.  These so called "floating gardens" still exist in Xochilmilco in the southern part of the city. 

The miniature "chinampas" in the park were planted with a variety of vegetables.

The botanical area also has a wide variety of cactii and agaves which are native to Mexico.

There was also a pine forest.  We don't usually think of pine trees when we think of Mexico, but in the colder climate of the higher mountains there are extensive pine forests.

The tree to the left with the very long needles is called an "ocote" or Montezuma pine.  It is very common in the mountains of Mexico.

There was also a large orchid house.  There are over one thousand species of orchids to be found in Mexico, and about 40% of them are endemic to Mexico.

The park extends far beyond the botanical gardens.  There are sports fields, playgrounds, and plenty of open space for visitors to enjoy a respite from the congestion of the city.

There were a large number of magnolia trees in bloom throughout the park.


This replica of a Korean temple bell was presented to Mexico by South Korea as a token of friendship to mark Mexico's bicentennial.

The park is clean and quite well maintained.  It is a fine addition to the city's park system. The only criticism that I have is that very few of the plants in the botanical gardens were labeled.

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