Rio de Janeiro is an immense metropolis, yet the touristic south zone of the city maintains all of the unpretentious charm of a multicultural village, making it easy to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to enjoy quality family time. Brazilians generally love kids, so your little ones will be welcomed with open arms. Here, we’ve compiled a list of fun things to do in Rio for kids and for adults, too.
First off, it’s important to book a family-friendly hotel that will serve as a good base for your vacation. Hotel Praia Ipanema has spacious rooms with beach views from the balcony across Ipanema and is within easy walking distance of several great restaurants and public transport systems. The swimming pool on the roof offers a welcome retreat from the intense summer heat and is great for kids that want to take a break from the beach. In Copacabana, the JW Marriott is ideal with a large rooftop swimming pool, a friendly, English-speaking staff and is in close proximity to restaurants, supermarkets and the beach.
Head to Leblon for the most kid-friendly beach in Rio. There is a large play area called Baixo Baby that offers plenty of kid’s toys and excellent facilities for mums and dads, too. The play area is in a cornered off part of the beach, providing a safe, spacious area for kids to play and socialize. The beach itself is safe for kids to play on and perfect for building sandcastles. Be aware that the sea can be choppy and the currents along the beaches are strong. Stay cautious, even if your children are just playing in shallow water.
Any trip to Rio should include this iconic monument and the day trip there can be made kid-friendly. The best way of getting to the Christ is taking a taxi to the train station in Cosme Velho (every taxi driver will know where it is) and then booking a combined train and entry ticket there. The train slowly winds around the Corcovado mountain through the picturesque and cooling Atlantic Forest, offering glimpses through the trees of the view waiting at the top. There are also live samba bands that play in the train’s carriages that are fun and lively. The views are stunning from the top and the whole family will love seeing Rio from such an incredible viewpoint. Make sure you check out the interactive digital board under the Christ’s left arm that contains fascinating history about the statue and other facts, too.
Just the outside of this museum alone will get your kids excited. Its science fiction-looking roof juts out over the square, making headlines all over the world for its impressive architectural. Get some family selfies outside before heading inside for a world of interactive displays, touchscreen boards and plenty of colorful images and models. The Museum of Tomorrow considers the future of the planet and its possibilities of evolution, tying in elements of sustainability and climate change. Not only is the museum incredibly informative and thought-provoking, it also is highly entertaining, promising hours of fun for the whole family.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a stunning lake in the south of the city that is famous for its mountainous skyline, bundles of nature and its pure tranquility. There is a 7.3 kilometers cycle path that encircles the lake that is popular with cyclists, runners and skateboarders and makes a wonderful family activity. There are plenty of bike hire points with hourly rentals available on bikes or even tandem bikes. Something that is always a hit with the kids is the swan paddleboat ride that takes you right out onto the lake, followed by a picnic on the grass with capybara spotting.
Rio’s Botanical Gardens are a haven of discovery with over 6,500 different species of plants and several species of birds and monkeys. The gardens are a unique and safe way for kids to learn more about nature and get up close and personal with Brazil’s exotic wildlife. The garden is divided into subsections, such as the Amazon section, the Japanese section and the sensory gardens that are as informative as they are fascinating. Be sure to take the time to check out the research centers, cultural centers and the museums in the garden, too — kids will love the nature collections there.
Visiting the Amazon jungle with kids in tow could be one activity most parents would prefer to avoid, so why not take a trip to Rio’s zoo instead? The park is small but has plenty of plants and about 2,000 different species of animals on display, the majority of them from Brazil. You won’t see any of the big five here, but the collection of birds is impressive with colorful toucans and macaws among others in an open aviary. This collection is particularly important for research purposes and conservation projects, as is the reptile house and primate displays.