Rio is home to some amazing parks

Rio  has many major parks and ecological reserves, such as the Tijuca National Park, the Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, the complex of Quinta da Boa Vista and Botanic Garden (the oldest in Brazil).

Tijuca National Park, is a public monument for the preservation of natural fauna and flora species. Initially under the name of “Parque Nacional do Rio de Janeiro,” it was created by the Federal Government on 6 July 1961 and is an area that today is 3972 hectares.  It houses a wealth of biota covering the regions of the high and picturesque city – including the Tijuca Forest. The park was artificially replanted in the nineteenth century at the behest of King Pedro II.

Among the sights of the parks caves, trails and waterfalls, are the city’s famous landmarks such as the Pedra da Gavea, the peak of the Corcovado and Tijuca Mountainous areas include the massif of Tijuca. The park was considered an “Environmental Heritage and Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO in 1991.
Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, located in the west, houses the culmination of Rio de Janeiro: the peak of Pedra Branca, which is 1024 meters high. It is the largest ecological park in the city and the largest urban forest in the world, with a total area of 12,500 hectares  – about 10% of the municipal territory. It is hidden by vegetation typical of the Mata Atlantica (cedar, jacarandas, jequitiba and IPES), the rich fauna serving as a shelter for leopards, three-toed sloth, anteaters, fox, armadillos and Cotias.

Besides the varied natural heritage, Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca has some buildings of cultural interest to tourists, such as an ancient aqueduct, dams, ruins of old farms from headquarters, and the porch and the Pau subsede Hunger in Jacarepagua – the main access route to the region. Near the Park is the Museum Nise da Silveira, in Juliano Moreira Colony.

The Walk is a public park garden in the heart of the city, designed and partially implemented by Valentim da Fonseca e Silva. It was the first public park in the Americas, built in the eighteenth century. With inspiration from the Passeio Público de Lisboa, and following the French style, it has straight boulevards, which are orthogonally crossed, and others that form diagonal decorative elements.  The artist also created fountains, statues and pavilions.

In 1864, (at the request of Emperor D. Pedro II), the layout of the gardens was changed, by the French landscaper Auguste Marie François Glaziou, into a romantic style, with sinuous curves and avenues, lakes and bridges. After successive interventions over the last century, in 2004 a comprehensive reform was passed to restore the original layout of Glaziou. Master of the original decoration Valentine left the whole of Chafariz Boy in Iron (1783), and Source of Amores, with statues of alligators in bronze.

The Park State of Grajau, in the north, contains 55 hectares of the remaining Atlantic Forest and several species of native fauna.  A stronghold for mountaineering, climbers scale the 444 meters of the Stone Andarai.

The west, in turn, is covered by a large number of green areas, such as the Ecological Park Chico Mendes. Opened in 1989 in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes, it offers guided tours to nurseries of endangered species and trails for hiking.  The park was named in honor of a leading rubber tapper killed in Acre, and is administered by the Foundation RIOZOO.

Other parks include the Municipal Park of Mendanha – an important reserve of Atlantic Forest in the neighbourhood of Campo Grande, rich in hardwood and shrubs of medical value, and varied wildlife – the Natural Reserve of Grumari, the Bosque da Barra – with 50 acres of boulevards, wooded stretches, sports courts and a large lake – the Reserve Marapendi in the Baixada Jacarepagua – where the lagoon to Marapendi can be seen up close, framed by vegetation of restinga – and mangrove reserves, such as the Restinga da Marambaia and Guaratiba bar.