When I was a kid I loved going to Polanco Park, it had the tallest slides and seesaws in the city and a trapeze like contraption in which you could fly around in circles. There were also always bubble, cotton candy and balloon vendors and choosing between the rainbow of different colored bubble mix was one of the most difficult challenges in my childhood as was eating the pink cotton candy without getting sticky hands.
Talking about the magic of the Polanco Park of our childhood with my mom she commented that in the late 80´s the park was terrifying for parents: “The slides were metallic so they got really hot in spring and the bottom of the slides were always broken so we had to catch you in the middle, the seesaws were always rusty and they were so high that if you fell off you were sure to fracture some limb” “What about the trapeze?” I asked “When it was broken or rusty it was a lot of fun even tough, getting on it meant skinned knees with inside on the wound. (Yes the ground was icky red gravel)
“What about the bubbles?” I anxiously asked waiting for that bubble to burst. “Now those were great! Baby food jars filled with soap mixture dyed every color of the rainbow (and probably toxic as hell) with bubble wands made of bended wire clothes hangers and colored yarn! That was cheap magic!”
But how things change: the Mexico City of Lu´s childhood is much more beautiful (more on that on another Mexico Monday), safe and child friendly if a bit less “authentic”
Today Polanco Park or Lincoln Par (as I researched it´s officially called) is the perfect place to spend a warm sunny Sunday. The park is made up of various sections: the aviary huge cages with trees and waterfalls in which lots of beautiful birds fly around, the two manmade ponds filled with families sailing from paper bots to fancy remote controlled yachts, a mini car track and the playground. So far Lu´s favorite part are the dogs that you can see everywhere and the huge leafy trees but I can´t wait until she is old enough to enjoy the beautiful playground since the dirty, rusty playground of my childhood in now a beautiful very, very safe place. The playground is now completely closed off and there is a security guard in the entrance making sure no kid goes out unaccompanied. The floor are made out of a special material that cushions falls, there are tons of tunnels, bridges and slides made of some material that always stays cool but best of all the playground is inclusive, it features ramps, special swings and slides for handicapped kids.
Anyway on with the tour guide, cool Mexico City part of the story Lincoln Park is the best place to spend the whole day since it is surrounded by yummy restaurants all of them with al fresco dining. Some of the best are 50 Friends Pizza, Tori Tori a very authentic Japanese, Non Solo Pasta and Roxy Ice Cream which has been around since my parents where kids and features “nieves” fresh fruit sherbets in dozens and dozens of exotic flavors like mango, zapote, guava, tangerine, lime (with or without chile) and yummy, yummy, yummy cajeta (burned milk) ice cream. All of which Lucy will be trying very soon! There are also the said ballon, cotton candy and bubble vendor (although bubbles are now yucky made in China plastic figures and wands with randomly colored bubble soap)
So if you are ever in Mexico City in a sunny weekend morning with your kids whether they´re 4 months or 10 years make sure to save some time to hang around Polanco Park (Lincoln Park ok, ok)
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