The Parque Zoológico Centenario is a well-done zoo featuring many of the animals of the Yucatan Peninsula and some from other parts of the world. It has a wonderful bird exhibit in a giant aviary that you can walk through. It is set in a beautiful park with play areas for kids. There is also a mini-train you can ride around the zoo and rowboats for the small lake.
The objective of the park is: “to provide recreational areas for the healthy relaxation of our citizens while providing family socializing in an ecological and educational setting which relates to the fauna it houses.”
Its mission is: “to be the best free recreational and zoological park in the country in terms of quality of the services and attractions it offers, as well as comply with the national requirements for zoological parks.”
It was originally conceived as a recreational park near the city, as a state initiative for the celebrations in 1910 for the first centennial of the independence of Mexico. The commission in charge of its construction proposed a botanical garden, and there is not much information today about how it functioned, but some people remember trees with signs showing their names in Latin, English, French, and German.
The most important remodelling, which also included its conversion into a zoo, was in 1962, with the assistance of the technical supervisor of the Chapultepec zoological park. The zoo has a herpetarium of 200 square meters, an open-air primate area of 400 square meters, and an area for mammals. In 1992 the aviary was built, which is 75 meters x 35 meters with a height of 10.6 meters, featuring birds from the peninsular region and other parts of the world. In 2010, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the park, various areas were remodeled, such as the composers’ plaza and its impressive kiosk, the Cuban and Porfiriana fountains, the train station, which returned to its original design, the kids’ games area, and the creation of the Fuente de la Paz (peace fountain), in commemoration of Mérida as the Ciudad de la Paz (city of peace).
The zoological park has a recreational area which contains green areas, picnic area, kids’ games, and bathrooms. There is a train ride going around the perimeter of the park and a boat ride on the lake. Every Thursday there is a dance for seniors in the park pergola at 4 pm, with live traditional music.
Zoo hours: Tue.-Sun. 8 am – 5 pm
Recreational area hours: Tue.-Sun. 6 am – 6 pm
Train ride: 1 peso
Boat ride: 3 pesos
Cable car: 5 pesos
Avenida Itzáes x Calle 59
Tel. 928 5815
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