New Museum of Mazatlán

PROYECTO DE MUSEO DE MAZATLÁN (9) You know how excited I am about the plans for upgrading the Bosque de la Ciudad into Mazatlán Parque Central—I wrote about it back in December. This gorgeous park will serve as an anchor between the historic downtown and the tourist zone, and connect the oceanside promenade/malecón with the estuary/Estero del Camarón. I repost a few of those photos below; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Today I received an update on the Museo de Mazatlán that will be the main feature on the northern side of the gorgeous park. It has been designed by Siete Colores Ideas Interactivas and architect Fernando Romero—who also recently won the bid to design Mexico City’s new airport (he also designed the Soumaya Museum)!

The 20,000 square meter museum will be in the form of a pearl, in recognition of Mazatlán’s nickname as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” I am very supportive, but I will say that to me the design looks more like a UFO/spaceship than a pearl… The building will have two stories and a view to the ocean. It will be green construction, built sustainably. I sure hope that’s true, because we have so very little left of our precious estuary here in town, and that estuary is key to the beauty of Central Park! Don’t get me started on why the city permitted building in front of the Gran Plaza, a project which has already partially filled in Estero del Camarón.

Plans for the museum include interactive multimedia exhibits. The ground floor will be dedicated to the people of southern Sinaloa: the history of our city, customs, traditions and cultural identity. The second floor will focus on the principal trades of Sinaloa, including agriculture, cattle, fishing, and tourism.

First floor features that are most exciting to me include an 18 x 24 meter IMAX screen with laser projection, a shrimp boat simulator, and a virtual street that will transport the visitor to Carnavál de Mazatlán—enabling us to interact with the event, see the gorgeous floats in the parade, dance with the comparsa troupes, wave to the royalty, and otherwise enjoy the annual festivities in simulated reality.

Rounding out the ground floor are 2900 square meters of permanent exhibition space, a round exhibition hall for the major themes of the museum, a travel agency from where tourists can depart on tours of Mazatlán and the surrounding area, a store filled with high quality regional handicrafts, and a bookstore dedicated to our regional heritage.

The second floor will have a terrace with a panoramic view of the Pacific, a restaurant featuring regional delicacies, a regionally-themed fast food outlet, the city’s historical archive, and training rooms for the development of tourism professionals. Miranda Servitje, President of Siete Colores, reports that INAH (Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History) has agreed to support the museum with exhibitions on Mexican archeology and history.

Neto Coppel Kelly, the visionary behind the project, feels Central Park and the Mazatlán Museum will strengthen the identity of Mazatlán and help generate new touristic offerings, thereby contributing to the welfare and economic growth of our city. State Secretary of Tourism, Francisco Córdova, says this is the type of infrastructure project that Mazatlán and Sinaloa need to keep growing and strengthening. Involved in the project, which has been over two years in the planning thus far, are Fideicomiso Unión Mazatlán and the municipal, state and federal governments.

I support this effort in major part because of the ecology of the area. In the seven years we have lived in front of the Bosque, we have seen hotels, party salons, stores and condo complexes claim land from the estero. This is protected land! But, in effect, I’ve seen that it goes unprotected. It is my sincere hope that developing the park area will ensure ecological conservation, rather than ruin, of the estuary.

Click here to see inside designs for the museum, and further information.

Manta Merrymaking

1.DSC_0260 - Version 3 In my next life, I want to be a manta. I’ve always said I want to be a Kobe cow, so I could drink beer and get massaged all day. But, in 2015, I hereby declare that being reincarnated as a manta ray looks oh-so-much more fun! We went out whale watching this week with Onca Explorations.

Whale watching has been our traditional Christmas gift to each other as a family since 2009. And a wonderful gift it is! The highlight of the trip this year for me were the mantas! We did, indeed, see whales; I will post pictures and write about that separately. But the mantas!

They were having so much fun! There were so very many of them—hundreds—and they kept jumping and flying and splatting and splashing, performing their high jinks all over our bay with their friends, for what seemed like forever. They just didn’t stop. What a joyful bunch they are! It reminded me of dancing sessions with my girlfriends…

The mantas’ bodies change so completely with every leap. They slap their wings against the water in a loud “thump!” 1.DSC_0253 - Version 2 That slap launches them into the air, where their wings curl up the opposite way, wrapping themselves backwards, in a rebound of sorts. 1.DSC_0261 - Version 2 They leap into the air—seemingly soaring over the skyscrapers on the beach, as you can see in the photos. 1.DSC_0246 - Version 3 They then fall back into the water with another loud “splat,” and start the process all over! 1.DSC_0234 - Version 2 And they do all of this in the company of hundreds of their joy-filled friends, frolicking about in a big band of craziness. 1.DSC_0279 - Version 2 And did I mention that mantas are HUGE? These looked to be maybe 3 or 4 feet across, and they get much bigger. Below is a short video clip of some of the manta merriment. I highly recommend you take a whale-watching excursion with Onca. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some mantas!

What makes the mantas leap so? Are they mating and courting, and perhaps the manta with the biggest splash is the sexiest? Are they just having fun, partying hearty with their friends? Are they wanting some Vitamin D from the sun? Whatever the reason, I sure did enjoy them!

Click on any of the photos in the album below to view it larger or see a slideshow.

National Geographic published a video of the largest-ever-witnessed group of mobula rays in our Gulf of Cortes. It is incredible! Watch it below: