5 Amazing Family Activities in Chapultepec Park

Chapultepec Park is so big that you could spend a week there and still not see it all. Here are our top family activities to do on your trip.

Chapultepec Park is the second-largest park in all of Latin America. For families who need a timeout from the noise and traffic of the city itself, the park offers a welcome relief.

It’s packed with activities for people of all ages, but here are our top five picks for families with young kids.


1. Chapultepec Zoo

Chapultepec Zoo was arguably the single biggest highlight of our trip to Mexico City. We had heard great things about it before we arrived, but we didn’t expect it to be quite as impressive as it turned out to be.

We’ve been to San Diego Zoo, which is (rightly) considered to be one of the best zoos in the United States, but Chapultepec Zoo gives it a good run for its money. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Chapultepec Zoo is that it is entirely free to enter.

It’s worth going for the Giant Panda alone (one of the very few captive Giant Pandas to exist anywhere in the world). But you can also enjoy other rare and endangered species, the most eye-catching of which is probably the white tiger.

Harriet and Luca especially loved the monkey enclosures. A gangway takes you high up into the treetops, and dozens of monkeys will congregate at the glasses panels, just centimeters from children’s faces.

In total, there are nearly 2000 animals spread across 17 hectares.

Make sure you also pay a visit to the butterfly sanctuary; kids can run and play among hundreds of the creatures flying freely and can release newly-born butterflies into the enclosure.

2. Los Pinos

No trip to Mexico City should be complete without a trip to the newly-accessible Los Pinos estate.

Found in the southwest corner of Chapultapec Park Sector I, Los Pinos is free to enter. The whole estate will take an hour or two to explore in full. Access is available Tuesday to Sunday between 11am and 6pm.

From 1934 to 2018, Los Pinos served as the official residence of the Mexican president. Upon taking office in December 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador decided to covert the luxurious properties and grounds into a cultural space.

Today, it is open to the public and offers a fascinating glimpse into the Mexican corridors of power; it’s hosted world leaders, prominent business executives, and every Mexican president since 1934 (with the exception of AMLO and Adolfo López Mateos).

The complex consists of multiple buildings and several acres of beautifully kept grounds and gardens. Make sure you see the famous library in Casa Miguel Alemán and the busts of every Mexican president that adorn the entry road.

3. Papalote Kids Museum

Papalote is an interactive and educational museum for kids. Youngsters are encouraged to touch, use, and play with all the exhibits. There are also dozens are workshops and games led by staff.

Unlike KidZania, which we felt was not sufficiently well-equipped for children under seven or eight years old, Papalote has it all. In total, there are nearly 300 exhibitions, and they will appeal to children of all ages.

The museum itself is divided into five sections: My Body, My Home and Family, My City, Living Mexico, and Ideas Lab.

Harriet was a big fan of the My Body section. Cleaning a giant mouth with a giant toothbrush and recognizing scents were her two favorite activities. There’s also a massive interactive kitchen in the Home area, and that kept her engaged for a long time.

For his part, Luca was enthralled by the plants and parkland scenery in the Living Mexico section. There was a treehouse he could play in, hollowed out logs to crawl through, and toy tents and campfires to sit around.

Of course, all the exhibitions are accompanied by plenty of information and educational material.

Papalote costs $199 pesos per person. You can buy your tickets at the door or can book online before you go.

Tip: If you have a pushchair, don’t try and walk from Sector I to Sector II of the park. We made that mistake and had to ask a kind policeman to help us carry the stroller over two bridges that cross an extremely busy series of highways. It is better to get a taxi.

4. Parque la Hormiga

While Los Pinos is an important cultural activity to cross off your list, the kids will probably be itching to do something more exciting by the time you have finished.

For that, head to Parque la Hormiga. Located just outside the Los Pinos estate, the park offers climbing frames, a zip line, swings, and plenty of picnic benches for the adults.

It was one of the best parks that we found in Mexico City. Check out the article for more information about open times and prices.

5. Lago Mayor

Chapultepec Park boasts three large lakes as well as a series of smaller ponds. But while Chapultepec Lake gets most of the headlines due to its closer proximity to the castle and the zoo, we much preferred Lago Mayor in Sector II.

It offers many of the same facilities as Chapultepec Lake, including boat hire, but is much quieter, boasts high-end restaurants on the lake shore, and is a more scenic place to walk around.

We stopped for lunch at Bistro Chapultepec on the north side of the lake and were highly impressed. They did a great pizza for the kids, and a well-cooked steak for Cynthia and me, and we had stunning views over the water to enjoy while we ate.

After lunch, we tried to walk from the lake to Papalote. While it’s not too far and definitely well-walkable, we managed to get lost (thanks GPS signal!) and then got caught in a thunderstorm. We ended up jumping in a taxi.

What About Chapultepec Castle?

While it is one of the most famous landmarks in Chapultepec Park, we’ve decided not to include the castle in our list of family-friendly activities. Why? Because it is a seriously long walk up a hill to get to it. Unless your kids are happy walkers, you might find yourself carrying them a lot of the way! And if you’ve got a stroller, be prepared for a hard push.

Of course, if you do manage to make it to the top of the rocky outcrop, you will be rewarded with stunning views across the park and beyond. The castle itself is now the National Museum of History and is free to enter.

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