Quinta da Boa Vista
In early 1945, then-President Getúlio Vargas inaugurated the Rio Zoo in Quinta da Boa Vista, São Cristóvão, where the green grounds of the former Royal Palace were lined with Imperial Palms and stunning views towards Cristo Redentor's statue. The palms remain, and the boulevards in and around the zoo are a glorious stroll, while the selection of animals on display is equally impressive. Sadly some of the quarters are not quite in keeping with their illustrious guests, and while the elephants have decent roaming ground and the hippos enjoy large swimming pools, the tigers and lions look less than impressed with their respective shacks while the huge variety of monkeys and birds circle their cages frustratedly.
The python and alligator pits are more impressive, however, with snakes stretching out in excess of four metres, working their way through the man-made swamps, their smaller cousins finding refuge in the darkness of the reptile enclosure by the zoo entrance. Take a picnic on the grass by the Museu Nacional and enjoy an all-too-rare piece of parklife in the city where the beach is king.