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Though Rio is not the best destination to travel with kids — it's a fairly costly city, and many of the best cultural and outdoor activities might not interest your little ones — the city still has many kid-friendly attractions and activities. If all else fails, head to the beach and let the sand and surf do the entertaining.
1. Copacabana Beach. It's a fact that kids love the beach. While Ipanema is the more hip and happening beach in Rio de Janeiro, that also means that there is a lot more commotion, as well as a lively gay section and a section where the surfer and skater crowd likes to congregate. Copacabana, on the other hand, offers wide, often less-crowded expanses of sand, with gentler tides, but still amazing views.
2. Quinta da Boa Vista. In the northern section of Rio (Zona Norte), in the neighborhood of São Cristovão, lies a big public park that’s perfect for kids. Not only does it have a zoo (complete with giraffes, elephants, tigers, bears, monkeys and more), and a museum of natural history (with life-size dinosaur skeletons and mummies), the grounds make for a great picnic spot. You can also rent bikes, tandem cycles and pedal-carts.
3. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The picturesque lake in the center of the Jardim Botanico, Ipanema and Leblon neighborhoods offers many kid-friendly activities. Rent paddle boats in the shape of swans, or rent bikes and go for a spin around the lake.
4. Parque da Catacumba. Older kids will love the adventure activities available at Parque de Catacumba, a small park on the edge of the Lagoa behind Copacabana. Free to enter, the park has a rock-climbing wall, a zipline, rappelling and a treetop canopy walk, all at affordable prices. If you’re up for a short hike, take the 15-minute trail up to Mirante (lookout) do Sacopã for the rewarding views of the lake and the surrounding residential areas.
5. Aterro de Flamengo. The Aterro, a large expanse of road connecting Botafogo with Centro, is closed to traffic on Sundays, which means it's a great place to let the kids roam free. During the week, there's a skate park, playgrounds, and the area also fronts a nice stretch of beach without the sometimes big waves of the other beaches.