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With exotic gardens, beautiful sculptures, tropical wildlife and wonderful views, Parque da Catacumba is the perfect place to come and escape the heat and pace of life in Rio. Located in the pretty waterside neighborhood of Lagoa, the park is little visited by tourists, which makes a trip here all the more peaceful. As well as offering short hiking trails, the park serves as an outdoor art gallery, with sculptures from local artists dotted around the gardens. You'll also spot little monkeys in the trees, and keep an eye out for parrots and toucans. A clearly-marked trail leads visitors on a quick and easy uphill hike (about 20 minutes), past a lovely bamboo garden to a vantage point with magnificent views over the lake.
Lots of fun for the whole family, Parque dos Patins is a place that everyone can enjoy. It is good for rollerblading, skating, soccer and tennis and there are additional special activities for children. You can choose to rent a bicycle and grab a quick meal from the various stalls. At night, people stop by for a draught and a meal in one of the restaurants with live music. It is a must during the summer. It is always cool and the view of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is superb.
Parque Lage is a beautiful public park in Jardim Botânico. Nestled at the foothills of the Corcovado mountain, this natural oasis is somewhat secluded and off most tourist maps. It is home to the former abode of industrialist Enrique Lage, from whom the park gets its name. Take the hiking trail and explore its subtropical plantations and mysterious spots, and make your way to the top of the peak.
Jardim Botânico or the Botanical garden makes for a fun and educational day trip with your kids. Spread across an area of 140.83 hectares (348 acres) and housing nearly 6000 species of plants and shrubs, it is a must visit attraction, while in Rio de Janeiro. You can also avail services of tourist guides who will take you through the garden and give an in-depth explanation on variety of trees and plant specimens.
Parque da Cidade is a pleasant park on sloping ground and is perfect for a day of fresh air and a picnic under the trees. Its 2,047.3 hectares (5,059 acres) of green lawns with natural trails, lakes and a great variety of exotic trees provides entertainment for the entire family. Children can run free and parents will enjoy hours of leisure. In the garden stands the 13th century Museu Histórico da Cidade (historical Museum of the City of Rio), showing the history of the city.
Designed by famous landscape designer Burle Marx, Parque do Flamengo spreads across 119.79 hectares (296 acres) and provides a pleasant place to take a stroll, play volleyball, soccer or tennis or to have a picnic. Enjoy the excellent views across the bay to the Rio-Niterói bridge and Corcovado. Three popular museums are found on the premises: the popular Museu Carmem Miranda, National Monument for those who perished during the II World War and Museum of Modern Arts. It is also called by many names such as Eduardo Gomes Park, Aterro do Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes and Aterro do Flamengo.
The first public park to be opened in Rio de Janeiro, Passeio Público is an oasis of calm sandwiched between the hustle and bustle of Centro and the down-at-heel side-walks of Lapa. Patrolled by security guards, the park offers abundant green spaces, trickling streams traversed by tiny bridges, tropical vegetation, and a host of stray cats. You are likely to spot herons by the streams looking for a bite to eat, while local office workers enjoy their own take-out lunches on the abundant benches.
The best place to visit to get an idea of what Rio once looked like, with miles and miles of tropical rain forest, walking trails, stunning views of the city, waterfalls, creeks and wonderfully varied greenery. At this huge urban reserve, it only takes about 20 minutes to immerse yourself in nature. Serious hikers can climb to the summit of Pico da Tijuca, while others can simply enjoy the waterfall, Cascatinha Taunay, at the Alto da Boa Vista.