Play to Your Heart’s Content at the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco in Morelos Part Two

First Published on Mexico Connect June 1, 2008

Play to Your Heart’s Content at the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco in Morelos

Part Two: A Long and Varied History

By Julia Taylor © Julia Taylor 2008

Ex-haciendas have a feeling of elegance that you can experience only in Mexico.

ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia TaylorAs if the water park weren’t enough, the buildings of the hacienda still stand and have been converted into lovely gardens, providing an elegant area that can be rented for a mere 84,000 pesos (approximately 8,000 USD). If the area isn’t being used on the day you visit you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to give yourself a tour, breathe in the ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylorquiet beauty, and take some pictures. Ex-haciendas have a feeling of elegance that you can experience only in Mexico. The hacienda has been renovated for parties and has lovely gardens and captivating swimming pools that might be even more fun to photograph than to swim in.

History of the Hacienda de Temixco

ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor

In 1617 a sugar mill was constructed on what would later become the Hacienda de Temxico, though it was first known as “Hacienda de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción.”  As was common in Morelos at that time, the hacienda expanded its lands by taking more and more land away from the indigenous ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylorpeople. Sometimes the owners, who had to face the angry people, turned to the colonial authorities and the Spanish Inquisition for defense. One bright spot in the hacienda’s history occurred in the late 1700s, when the then owner of the hacienda freed 200 black slaves owned by the hacienda. For that reason, during the War of ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia TaylorIndependence in 1810, the black people of the region took the side of the government and the hacienda was a focal point of the royal resistance.

Due to its strategic location near Cuernavaca, the state capital, the hacienda was again used for military purposes during the ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia TaylorRevolution. Between 1910 and 1917, it was used as a fort and arms warehouse by Zapatistas and federal troops alternately. Its sad uses didn’t end there. In 1942, it was used as a Japanese concentration camp thanks to Mexico’s union with the allied forces during World War II. After World War II, the hacienda was converted into a rice ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylormill and processing plant. The hacienda’s function finally became a truly happy one when it became a water park in 1968.

On the day we went, a couple of workmen were repairing a roof on the back side of the chapel and they took a few moments to fill us in on some details about the hacienda when it was in operation ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylorprocessing the famous Morelos rice. They pointed out some interesting features, such as a chimney that was built during the rice processing days out of red bricks that included rice husks as one of their basic ingredients. We all peered closely at the bricks, but they looked about the same as the standard variety to our untrained eyes. The man also ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylorpointed out one of the auxiliary parking lots, which was originally the cement pad where the rice was spread out to dry in the sun.

[Article continues after photos. Scroll down.]

ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor
ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor

Weekly Schedule and Rates

ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia TaylorThe Ex-Hacienda de Temixco is open seven days a week, but if you go on a weekday, you should pay special attention to the schedule for the rides. On weekends and holidays, all of the rides are on all day from noon to five p.m. On weekdays, each major attraction has a schedule during which it is in operation. The schedule is posted on a sign near the park’s main entrance and on the web site. (See the schedule by holding the mouse pointer over the green button next to the words “Horarios de juegos.”) To avoid missing the fun, you might consider bringing a waterproof watch, or just follow the crowd as they rotate from one fun activity to another.

Regular rates are 160 pesos for adults, 120 pesos for children and people with disabilities, and free for children who are under 95 cm tall. The park offers a special rate of 70 pesos per adult on Mondays (except when a national holiday falls on a Monday). The prices and menu items at the park’s restaurants are listed on the web site, but remember that not all items will be available on weekdays. (Click on the first image for more information.)

How to Get to the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco

ExHaciendadeTemixco Copyright 2008 Julia Taylor

The Ex-Hacienda de Temixco water park is just minutes from Cuernavaca, and deeply shaded parking just inside the main gate is included in the entrance fee. Still, for those not accustomed to driving in Mexico, the author recommends taking a bus or taxi because we found traffic in Temixco to be horrendous with a capital “H.” The water park is located right in the middle of Temixco on the main highway (the free highway, not the toll one) from Cuernavaca to Acapulco. If you drive, you can either take the free highway to Acapulco or, alternatively, the toll highway exiting at “Las Brisas.” Don’t let the traffic scare you off, because the contrast of the peaceful interior of the park with the noisy, crowded atmosphere outside will almost knock your socks off. Go through the gate, and you’re in paradise. A taxi from downtown Cuernavaca should charge you about 50 pesos. Buses (including routes 3, 9, 12, and 20) will literally drop you off at the front gate, cost 5 pesos, are available from downtown Cuernavaca near the zocalo, and say “Temxico/Acatlipa” on them.

For your convenience, the park’s official web site includes a list of nearby hotels with links to their web sites and phone numbers.

Here is the park’s web site: Ex-Hacienda de Temixco Parque Acuático Accessed April 7th, 2008.

Here’s the web site for the Hacienda: Hacienda de Temxico. Weddings and Special Events

Additional source: “Temixco” Accessed April 7th, 2008.

Play to Your Heart’s Content at the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco in Morelos

First Published on Mexico Connect May 1, 2008

Play to Your Heart’s Content
at the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco in Morelos

Part One:

32 Acres
of Aqua Fun

By Julia Taylor
© Julia Taylor 2008

Just twenty minutes from downtown Cuernavaca, you pass from the noisy, hot traffic of Temixco, Mexico, into the relaxation and fun of the Ex-Hacienda de Temixco water park. As you walk through the gate of the main entrance you instantly begin to enjoy the exquisite gardens surrounding the immaculately kept swimming pools and other facilities. The entire park is a network of water-related activities, colorful gardens, manicured grass, and shady trees, all connected by tidy brick walkways gently sloped to keep water from pooling on them. Flowering vines grace arched architecture, and tile accents decorate the edges of pools and changing areas. Nothing distracts visitors from enjoying their time to the fullest.

32 Acres of Fun

Everywhere you look you see sparkling, crystalline waters and there are a surprising variety of ways to have fun at the 32-acre (130,000 square meter) aquatic park. Entering the park, the first attraction you see is the striking children’s area. In the middle of a shallow pool, a jungle fortress sports slides and water falls. The fortress has a natural-looking design as if it were part of a rocky waterfall. Shallow water flows down colorful slides and the stairs, giving the structure a fun feeling, embracing your feet as you climb around. All of the surfaces in the children’s area are rubberized to protect bathers from scrapes and bruises and the edge of the pool is covered in green outdoor carpeting to provide a safe way for tiny bathers to enter the water. A staff member is stationed around back of the structure to keep an eye on the areas that parents can’t easily see.

Near the children’s area is an exquisite lap pool with pretty blue and white tiles all around the edge. Another pool has room for tossing a ball, doing handstands, playing tag, or doing whatever kids love to do, as well as some floating pads connected to the bottom of the pool. Overhead bars are mounted above these pads for people to hold as they cross the pool without falling in. Of course falling in is as much fun as not falling in.

Nestled into the gardens, in addition to the water features, there are also basketball courts, a racquetball court, a miniature golf course, ping pong tables, soccer fields, and a sandy court for beach volleyball. One pool has a soon-to-open activity that appeared to the author to be a zip-line. Swimmers will climb up to a platform and shoot out over the pool on a cable which will deposit them into the water at the other side.

One area of the park holds a huge, round wave pool, with a shallow beach like edge. People can sit on the smooth blue tiles and let the soothing waves break across their feet, legs, and hips. Others venture deeper and let the waves lift them right off of their feet. Surrounding the wave pool is a river with waves. Swimmers move through the flow of the river on inner tubes and enjoy the waves that they encounter. Warm sun shines on their shoulders and cool water bathes their feet and legs.

One exciting area of the park has a huge, octopus-like network of a variety of colorful water tubes. Bathers can choose between a going down a tube lying on their backs or choosing a tube where they can ride down with an inner-tube. Close your eyes as you are going down the slide and you’ll really feel the twists and turns. There is also a tall, long slide that you shoot down on your tummy, holding onto a sled-like mat. One new ride was being constructed in this area and appears to be a ride with a boat or log of some sort, splashed by water.

The park, which has been in operation since the late ’60s, is completely modernized, but remnants of the classic features can still be seen. One of these features was a rocky cliff built into the edge of a small pool. The author’s family enjoyed climbing the cliff on the built-in stairs and exploring a cave in the plant-covered pseudo rocks. Wading into the cave, thigh deep in water, you hear the echoed sounds of the small waves made by your movements. There is a tile bench on which to sit and enjoy the dim, cool interior of the “secret” hideaway. This and other details at the water park make it easy for bathers to break free of the traditional “marco polo” and handstand games usually played in boring swimming pools.

Playing, Not Walking

The park is a compact collection of lush gardens highlighting sparkling pools and other water features. It is easy to get around the park and it’s never far from one fun activity to another. The heart of the experience at the ex-hacienda de Temixco is more about playing and less about walking. No area is left bare and well-kept flowers and shrubs brighten every nook and cranny.

If you wish to bring your own foods, lovely bougainvillea arbor picnic areas are available for the convenience of visitors. Alternately, snack bars and a clean restaurant offer foods at reasonable prices. Nothing interrupts the experience at Ex-Hacienda de Temixco, and even the restrooms are spotless and have plenty of private little individual changing areas and semi private showers, all accented with lovely tile. Lockers are available just outside the bathrooms. Centrally located convenience stores sell snacks, souvenirs, and swimming suits without dominating the scenery. Plenty of garbage cans help visitors keep the park impeccable. There is obviously a continuous attention to safety and cleanliness at the park as the author observed someone scrubbing a tile patio area with soap and water and observed no tripping hazards. Finally, friendly staff are available to support visitors in any way needed.

Don’t miss any of the fun activities at the park. In Part 2… the park schedule, the hacienda’s story, directions on how to get there, and an enticing photo gallery.

Kooks in the Kitchen and Great Social Skills: A Mother’s Trade-off in Mexico

First Published on Mexico Connect April 1, 2008

Kooks in the Kitchen and Great Social Skills: A Mother’s Trade-off in Mexico

By Julia Taylor © Julia Taylor 2008

Sometimes circumstances in Mexico make it harder to care for a child. But overall, Mexico has given us many blessings as parents.

“Kook! Kook!” our son, standing on a chair and pointing emphatically at one particular spot on our kitchen shelves, kept repeating, “kook.”

“¿Qué quieres? No te entiendo. ¿Qué es ‘cuc’?” My husband was getting more and more confused, as he moved non-edible items around on the shelf.

“Do you want this?”

“No. Kook.”

In a process of elimination, my husband had moved almost everything away from the area indicated by our son — even most of the glass spice containers. Containing no fruit or snack items, the area in question was normally ignored by our toddler. That particular part of the shelf was almost bare, and still he hadn’t determined what our son wanted. In a last-ditch effort to help our son, he scooted the chair that our son was standing on closer so that our little one could touch whatever it was that he wanted. When he didn’t select anything, but continued to point, my husband finally said, “Well, son, I give up. I’m sorry, but I just do not know what you want,” and went back to chopping veggies.

Our son instantly turned to me, “¡Mamá, cuc!”

I decided to give the shelf one last look, and there it was. A cockroach, sitting on top of the last spice jar, waggling it’s antennae in broad sweeps. It was one of the outdoor kind, sometimes called a Plametto Bug, with the big wings, which obviously had decided to come inside and try the domesticated life.

“Oh. A cockroach. Quick, get a paper towel.”

We each took our customary pest elimination stations. My husband holding the preferred killing device – in this case a folded paper towel, myself on back-up, holding a shoe over a possible escape route, and our son, observing from a safe distance. The cockroach met his end on the first try and we began joking. “We have ‘kooks’ in the kitchen.”

Roaches aren’t the only wildlife our son can identify. He knows three others, collectively referred to as “tee-tees,” making use of his term for ‘injury’ or ‘hurt.’ He stays well away from previously killed scorpions, left out for him to find and practice not touching. He loves to tell everyone about the “tee-tee” (a lovely, but very nasty fuzzy green caterpillar) that his father chopped out of the rose bush with pruning shears while he and I stood well back and said, “Oooo. Tee-tee. Don’t touch. Be careful Papá.” He also identifies snakes as “tee-tees” thanks to the little viper we found on the washing machine.

I showed him the black widow I recently killed on the screen door, but it was so mashed up, I don’t think he properly got a positive I.D. on that one. I’m just grateful they seem to hang out in the front door frame where I can periodically check for them.

A child’s social life

neighbors in Cuernavaca copyright 2008 Julia TaylorOur son, when he’s not scouting for vermin, keeps up on our neighbors’ activities. In fact, their joyful attentions have him convinced that he is famous. One of our neighbors is retired and often comes out to water his plants on the other side of our shared chain-link fence. Our son likes to stand nearby and observe him. Our neighbor always asks him to pass his little hand through the fence so that they can shake hands. “Saluda,” [Say hello] he tells him and corrects him if he tries to extend the left hand rather than the right. It was during one of these moments that he taught our son one of his first words, “agua.” Lately, they are practicing their whistles. When our neighbor comes out to water, he lets out a short, high-pitched whistle and my son replies with his own version, “wsht.”

Another neighbor is semi-retired and building a new house on his property. He is often outside shoveling sand and mixing cement. Our son stands at the gate and shouts for his attention. This neighbor says our son is his cuate [buddy] and always takes a moment to greet the little guy. He pays enough attention to our son that he understands our son’s pre-speaking conversation and always responds appropriately to what our son tells him.

A third neighbor has a small work-area under a tree in front of his house where he welds made-to-order window frames and metal railings. Every time we go by, he stops work and waves goodbye to our son, calling him by name and asking him where he is going, which is a common way of greeting a passing neighbor or friend in Mexico.

When we travel outside our neighborhood our son beams huge, toothy grins at complete strangers, expecting them to respond to him as warmly as his neighbors do. He doesn’t get discouraged when they don’t reply, but just uses more of the social skills that he has learned from our neighbors.

When I first considered becoming a parent in Mexico, one of my concerns was that my child might be stung by a scorpion. It is true that we sometimes find scorpions inside our house but, by cleaning behind and underneath furniture, we keep them away and have always seen them just as they are first entering our house from outside. As our son has grown older and successfully learned to be afraid of scorpions, I’ve become less fearful of a tragic sting.

Sometimes circumstances in Mexico make it harder to care for a child, but overall, Mexico has given us many blessings as parents. One of the most important blessings is that I will be able to stay at home with our son until he is ready to go to pre-school or day care. I’ve had no social pressure to return to work, but have had lots of support from other moms who understand that being a stay-at-home mom can sometimes be downright boring. In Mexico the weather’s always good and we can play outside with water, chalk, or toy cars. Everybody else has children, too, so if our child is over-tired or bored and making a scene in public there is almost always someone who will talk to him and help him have fun.

Like our neighbors, many people in Mexico understand and enjoy children. Children are spoken to directly from the moment that they are born. When our son was an infant and I first began carrying him with me to do errands, I was surprised at the way people greeted both of us. Not only would they say hello to me, but they would get into his line of sight and greet him too, telling him how precious and cute he was. After becoming accustomed to this, when I traveled to the U.S., I was again surprised at the way people treated him. This time I was surprised at their coldness. People would hold entire conversations right over his head and never so much as say hello to him. Not everyone was like this, of course, but enough people were that I noticed the difference between the two cultures. I got the impression that people’s general lack of exposure to children caused them to be embarrassed to talk to him. As a child he was a minority of sorts and people preferred to avoid him. Personally, if having my son be included in social interaction and thus learn positive social skills means I have to see the occasional ‘kook’ in my kitchen or scorpion on my patio, I’ll take the deal.