News article published Thursday, April 5, 2007.
Some years ago, Dean Marquez, Kati's father, flew to Watertown, N.Y., to purchase a half-size model of the 1863 C.P. Huntington locomotive. The train, which consists of an engine, and an open-air passenger car, has since been relocated to the Marquez estate and has been refurbished. The 28-seater travels along a quarter-mile of track that encircles a pond stocked with koi, bass and trout.
Kati, who is nearly 10 and is the youngest of the seven Marquez children, said she is happy with how the train has turned out.
"It's pretty good," said Kati, who is a little shy.
Just southeast of Temecula in a rural area near Highway 79 South, the Marquez family has begun piecing together what they hope will soon be "Katiland," a family-style amusement park set on the family's 20 acres. Besides the train, there are also Go Kart tracks in place and the family's seven Clydesdale horses are getting in shape to give hay rides.
"I really want to push this past just something my family will enjoy," Dean Marquez said. "That's why we're going to open up our property to the people of Temecula."
While the official opening date is yet to be determined, a Web site: www.katiland.com, has been created to keep the public informed. The Marquez's are looking to future road projects, such as the Anza Road/Eastern Bypass extension, to assist them in making Katiland more accessible to the public.
"There is always something weird and different happening around here," Jill said. "I can't wait until we open it up for others to enjoy."
There are already plans to purchase a 1972 Ferris wheel, which will be erected on a hilltop with an orange grove. Jill wants to bring some more animals to the property such as wallabies, llamas and possibly a giraffe.
"Giraffes are hard to come by," said Dean, "but I know where we could get some zebras."