Barranca and the Zoo are located near each other. Actually the Zoo is located on the edge of the Barranca which is a 2000+ foot gorge cut deep into the heart of the earth by centuries of a river eroding through the earth. It is similar in appearance to the Grand Canyon minus the color. As the elevation descends to the bottom, the climate becomes more tropical and fruits such as papayas, guavas, and mangoes are grown and shipped to market in Guadalajara.
A picturesque part of the canyon can be seen at a park at the end of the road that passes in front of the zoo. The road ends at the canyon and from here, one walks through the park to the viewing platforms. The canyon and zoo are about 15 to 20 minutes by taxi from the historic section. In fact, you can actually see the ridges of the canyon from the top of some of the buildings in downtown Guadalajara. Looking for these ridges, however, is a waste of time on most days due to the severe air pollution that plagues this high elevation city.
The Zoo is located about 3/4 of a mile from the end of the road that ends at the canyon. It covers 100 acres and also affords excellent views of the canyon. There probably isn’t any need to go to the park and view the canyon as there are viewing platforms at the zoo. However, while providing excelling views, they are limited in there scope of the entire canyon and you may be left craving more views of this incredible gorge. If this is the case, then by all means go to the viewing platforms at the park.
I don’t usually make a practice of visiting zoos when I am in the states. However, this zoo was highly recommended to me and after visiting it I can report that it is comparable to zoos in the United States. There was nothing spectacular about it except the views of the canyon. The zoo contains many large mammals, an excellent display of birds and snakes, and monkeys. Right next to the zoo is a large amusement park with many many rides. I was there on Christmas Day and the amusement park was packed with people. The weather was in the high 70’s – a perfect time to visit, especially if you live in colder climate latitudes. Zoo Website: www.zooguadalajara.com.mx
Bullfighting can be witnessed at certain times of the year. Some of the worlds best bull fighters can be found in the Plaza Nuevo Progreso (which seats 25,000) north of the downtown area. This stadium is located near the Zoo. The best time to see a bull fight is between October and March. Bullfights take place on Sundays starting at around 4:30pm. Tickets for the current days show can be purchased on site at the bull ring. Horse shows and concerts are also held at various times throughout the year.
Address: Pirineos #1930, Independencia –> Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Between the Streets: Calz. Independencia Nte. y Fidel Velasques
Telephone: (33) 3637-9982 / 3651-8378 / 3651-8506
Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady faces Avenida Alcalde and its appearance can easily throw one off when trying to guess its age. It is a mix of Byzantine, Greek, Gothic, and Arabic styles. Construction was begun in 1561 and it was finished in 1618. However, the two 200 foot towers were erected in 1848 after a tremendous earthquake. A large painting called “The Assumption of the Virgin” is located inside the church.
Instituto Cultural Cabanas is located at the far eastern end of the downtown Plaza Tapatia. This building used to be the home for orphans but now proudly displays many Orozco murals. The most spectacular of the murals are in the main part of the building. They cover the walls and the ceilings. There are several benches and tables on which you can lay down and look up at the murals.
This building contains 23 different patios and courtyards. There are also several changing art exhibits displayed in this building. Many citrus trees grace the courtyards. Beware of picking the fruit however. What looks like ripe oranges and grapefruits are really fruit that is quite sour. The varieties of citrus planted here are not meant to be eaten. They are ornamental. The museum charges admission; discounts are given for students.
Museo Clemente Orozco is located just east of the Minerva Circle off of Avenida Vallarta. This building is the former workshop and home of Clemente Orozco and contains numerous photographs, tools, clothing, and Orozco’s personal easel. In front of a massive three story window, is an enormous Orozco mural entitled “Alegoria del Vino.” The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 until 2pm.
Palacio Gobierno contains the most famous murals by Jose Clemente Orozco. I have studied several of these in previous art classes. There is a lot of activity in these murals. I found that by lying down on the stairs, underneath the murals, I could relax and enjoy the paintings more. Many of his murals are of themes about war, freedom, and oppression.
The building the murals are in was built in 1643. If you are lucky you will run into a short gentleman that looks part Mexican and Japanese. He will offer you his tour guide services FREE of charge. He speaks 9 different languages fluently.
Teatro Degollado is located on the west end of the Plaza Tapitia. You can’t miss this building. Its the one that has many columns in the front. The inside of this theater is quite elegant. There are four stories above the main viewing area on the lower floor. Its home to Guadalajara’s Symphonic Orchestra. They also present Operas and plays in this building. If you walk around to the back of the theatre you will see a presentation on the back depicting the founding of Guadalajara in 1542. This founding actually occurred very close to the present day location of the Theater. Unfortunately this theater was closed when I was visiting, due to remodeling. The University of Guadalajara’s Folkloric Ballet performs every Thursday afternoon.
Templo Expiatorio Church is well worth a visit especially during the beginning of the noon hour. Every day at 12pm, 12 apostles make an appearance. The church is very beautiful also.