Tijuana is a lot of things. A green oasis is not one of them. But, a few miles from downtown, you find a green oasis. In the midst of the traffic and the hectic movement of a growing city, Parque Morelos is an ample, grassy space filled with families and fun seeking Tijuanenses.
If you approach Parque Morelos in a vehicle, the first thing you will probably notice is the multitude of families enjoying a picnic. It’s easy to spot the running children, the slow walking couples, and the people on their daily run. Some come for the Zoo inside the park, others for the puppet shows. But on a chilly January afternoon, we had ONE goal: Ice Skating.
Yes, you can Ice Skate in Tijuana. There’s one major catch: you can only enjoy this experience until January 31, 2016. If our visit is any indication as to the popularity of this new attraction I am sure it will be back next year. But there are
Six major reasons why you should go Ice Skating at Parque Morelos NOW:
1. Ice Skating at Parque Morelos is VERY child friendly. We saw little kids who could barely walk in little bitty skates (rental included with the price of admission), toddlers skating with the aid of their parents, and young children having a blast learning to ice skate. There was one attendant handing out ice skates on our visit and he was, understandably, incredibly busy. But I saw him hand out skates for kids that looked barely older than a year and skates to fully grown adults. Shoes size is not a problem here.
2. One hour for $60 pesos is a good deal. The admission price is $60.00 M.N./pesos ($3.75 U.S. dollars) for any individual wishing to go in and skate (child or adult). For that price you get an allotted time slot of one hour. We stood in line to buy our ticket, received our allotted time slot (for an hour and half later) and proceeded to enjoy the area. Forty minutes before our time slot we walked back to the Ice Skating rink, stood in line to sign the waiver forms, then stood in a separate line to get our skates, and found a spot to sit and put them on the kids. Yes, there are three separate lines. Yes, there is only one individual working each line. Yes, it takes a while. And yes, it’s worth it. The kids had their Ice skates on and were ready at the exact moment they could join in the fun on the rink and loved every minute of it.
3. The Ice Rink is not crowded. In a move that I found amazing, the Ice rink population is controlled and the hour time slots have a smooth transition. What this means is that little ones are not fighting for space on the ice with bigger kids or adults and everyone has a chance at enjoying some personal space. While the lines are long and there are more than a few adults hanging out in the Ice Skating rink tent space, the numbers on the actual ice are much lower and it definitely makes for a better overall experience.
4. Easy, safe directions and parking. I know that this technically has nothing to do with Ice Skating itself, but it does add to the overall enjoyable experience. Parque Morelos is big and well known in Tijuana. If your GPS or hand written instructions don’t work out, pretty much anyone in the area will be able to point you in the right direction. Once you are close, you can’t miss the big, green space. And, once you reach the entrance gate, the $20.00 M.N./pesos ($1.25 U.S. dollars) parking fee includes a large parking lot right next to the Ice Skating rink. Portable toilets can be found behind the ice skating rink and a parking lot attendant is incredibly helpful in finding you an empty parking space (tip him, he’s awesome).
5. An hour and a half to pass at the Parque. I mentioned earlier that we had an hour and a half to kill between the time when we bought out tickets and the allotted time when we could actually enter the ice skating rink. You could, of course, walk around the park and enjoy the puppet shows or the Zoo or the trails. You can also play one of the arcade games inside the Ice Skating rink tent. Or you could do what we did: eat. Right next to the ice skating rink you will find several white tarps housing some pretty tasty food establishments. There’s the chocolate churro stand, the tostilocos stand (more on this amazing treat below, keep reading), the quesadillas stand, the cup of corn place (with butter, crema and grated cheese), and many more.
6. Wet, cold fun. The odds are that your child will fall on the ice and get wet. That’s ok, its part of the fun and, with a limited number of people on the ice, not really a problem. If you happen to be watching the kids and not joining in, you will be cold. Wet, cold fun… just what the doctor ordered after a prolonged, hot Fall in Tijuana. I often hear people say: “Mexico doesn’t have cold weather”. Those people, obviously, are not talking about Tijuana. You will need long pants, a sweater, a jacket, and I suggest gloves and a scarf. Maybe a hat to keep your head warm too. My friend Karla, from Publikate Tijuana, and her girls joined our family for our Ice Skating adventure and she was very cold inside the ice skating rink tent as well.
We had a blast ice skating and hanging out at the Parque Morelos. It is definitely a fun filled opportunity for family time. And, as I mentioned above, we found more than one reason to love this park.
3 other reasons to love the Parque Morelos
1. Churros. We are a churro loving family. The churros at Parque Morelos are not the best I’ve ever had (that prize goes to the churro stand right next to La Buffadora in Ensenada) but they are a solid yummy. I recommend that you ask them to roll your churro in the sugar bowl (a lot) and then add your chocolate/caramel filling. Clearly we like our churros as sugary as possible. For $15 pesos ($.93 U.S. cents) it gives you that perfect sugar high before hitting the ice skating rink.
2. Tostilocos. Tostilocos are one of those Mexican inventions that people make funny faces at, until they eat it. Then everyone wants seconds. The treat can be customized but traditionally has tostitos (Mexican ones), pineapple, cucumbers, jicama, cueritos (pork rinds), shredded coconut, plums in chilli sauce, a tamarind stick, Japanese peanuts, La Valentina chilli sauce, chamoy, chilli powder, clamato, and lemon to top it all off. I know how it sounds but just typing this is making my mouth water. They are AMAZING! Seriously, try them. A small box costs $40 pesos and a large serving will set you back $50 pesos ($3.13 U.S. dollars). You have nothing to loose!
You can also watch our YouTube video on how they made our tostilocos here.
3. Food. We tried the quesadillas ($15 pesos/ $0.93 U.S. cents) and the corn cups ($20 pesos/ $1.25 U.S. dollars). The quesadilla was yummy and the corn cups remind me of being a kid. You take corn and, obviously, place it in a cup. Then you add generous amounts of butter, salt, crema (sour cream), and grated cheese. You mix all these ingredients together and get a hot, delicious treat. You can also add chilli powder. If you are looking for something on the delicious and healthy side, try a cup of freshly cut fruit! And yes, you can add chilli powder to that too.
What else can I possibly say: Go. For an extra special day, I recommend stopping by the Parque Morelos at 9:30am on a Sunday. Stand in line and buy tickets to enjoy some ice skating, enjoy some food while you wait to put on the ice skates, and enjoy your one full hour of ice skating. Afterwards, walk around the park and enjoy a puppet show before heading to the Zoo to learn about the animals that call the Parque Morelos home. I would then recommend you head over to the Mercado Hidalgo (our review). You are probably hungry at this point and the Mercado is a great place to try some Birria, Torta Ahogada or tacos. Walk around the Mercado Hidalgo, buy some candy, maybe some fresh produce too. You can then walk two blocks and walk in to the CECUT (our review). The exhibits are all free on Sunday and you can enjoy at least four different ones this month. A fun and culturally rich day with three stops.
Parque Morelos General Info:
Address: Blvd. Insurgentes #16000, La Mesa, 22105, Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. Tel. +(664) 625-2469 and (664) 627-9373. You can also read up on the park and everything it offers on the Parque Morelos Website.
Parque Morelos offers 11 kioscos, 10 green spaces for parties, and free BBQ pit areas for everyone’s enjoyment. It also has a small train that goes around the park, an artificial lake, boats for rent during seasonal hours, bike paths, running paths, clown shows and puppet shows on the weekends. There is also an aviary, a petting zoo, a zoo, and, of course, a seasonal ice skating rink.
Hours of Operation: The park is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Sunday, the aviary is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 3:30pm, the petting zoo is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 3:30pm, lake boats are open (in season) Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, the Zoo is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm (and is Free), and the Ice Skating Rink is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 10:00pm.