There are plenty of activities to keep kids amused in Rio: sandy fun on the beach; bike rides around Lagoa; aerial cable-car rides; boat trips and rainforest walks; and plenty of great treats – fresh juices, ice creams and pastries – along the way.

Need to Know

  • Admission At most sights, kids under 13 years pay half-price; those under five or six typically get in for free.
  • Attitudes Brazilians are very family-oriented; you'll be welcomed with open arms at most restaurants. High chairs are readily available.
  • Accommodations Many hotels let children stay for free, although the age limit varies.

Sights

  • AquaRio

South America's biggest aquarium has hands-on areas for kids.

  • Ilha Fiscal

A Cinderella-esque castle, reached by short boat ride.

  • Quinta da Boa Vista

The former home and gardens of the Portuguese royals now contains a natural-history museum and a zoo.

  • The Bonde

Ride the little yellow streetcar up to Santa Teresa, and enjoy the views along the way.

  • Markets

You'll find fruit markets all across town; they're the perfect spot to assemble a picnic, while sampling delicacies you may not find back home.

  • Planetário

Astronomic fun and stargazing.

Rio Snacks

  • Sorvete

Treat the kids to ice cream, especially from Vero or Felice Caffè.

  • Agua de Côco

Drink coconut water straight from the nut at beachside kiosks.

  • Pão de Queijo

This small, round, cheese-filled bread is available at any juice bar.

  • Pastel de Nata

Sample these tasty custard tarts at beautiful art deco Confeitaria Colombo.

  • Sucos

Try creamy açaí and many other juice flavors.

Green Spaces

  • Jardim Botânico

These verdant gardens offer a fine break from the sun on a hot day. Explore a lily-filled pond, a playground, a cafe and shaded walking trails.

  • Parque Lage

About 1km northeast of the Jardim Botânico, Parque Lage has extensive walking trails, plus a playground, a small fish pond and a good outdoor cafe; it's also a great spot to see monkeys.

  • Floresta da Tijuca

At this vast wilderness northwest of the Zona Sul you can take short or long hikes, enjoy picturesque views and take a dip in a waterfall.

Panoramas

  • Cristo Redentor

Most kids will get a huge kick out of the steep cog train that takes visitors through dense forest to the massive Christ the Redeemer statue.

  • Pão de Açúcar

The journey by aerial gondola to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain is probably the best part of the experience for kids; afterwards, you can walk to the small, pretty beach of Praia Vermelha.

The Beach

If traveling with younger kids, check out Baixo Bebê Leblon. The family-friendly beach area between postos (posts) 11 and 12 in Leblon has a netted-off play area with slides.

Older kids will find lots to see and do on the beach: football and volleyball games, boogie boarding and stand-up paddling, and sampling snacks from roaming food vendors.

The Lake

At Parque dos Patins, on the west side of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, you can hire bikes, scooters, tricycles, toys and huge family-size pedal bikes for a spin along the lakeside path.

On the east side of the lake, at Parque do Cantagalo, you can hire pedal boats for a glide around the lake (in a swan boat, no less).

If you're around in December, pay a visit to the lake at night, when a giant floating Christmas tree lights up the lakeside.

Climbing Adventures

Near the east side of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas you'll find Parque da Catacumba, which is a great spot for older kids. The outfit known as Lagoa Aventuras has a zipline, a rock-climbing wall, treetop walks and rappelling (abseiling). There are also short but steep hiking trails that take you to a lookout with pretty views over the lake.

Boat Trips

Older kids might enjoy a boat ride out on the bay. For a full-day outing you can take the ferry to Ilha de Paquetá. Once you're on the car-free island, you can get around by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. There are also shorter cruises most days, as well as the ferry to Niterói, which offers great views of the bay.