Fazendinha Estação Natureza

Pigs, goats and an enormous bull oversee the fun at the well-thought-out kids' petting farm west of Rio

The small 'farm' (fazendinha) at the end of Avenida das Américas hit upon the idea of providing children with up-close and personal access to their animals and never looked back. The lonely donkey at the entrance doesn't bode so well, but, once inside, the handsome, strutting horses can be ridden for a handful of quick circuits round the small paddock and baby rabbits are hand-fed carrot sticks until full, which doesn't take long. For the more adventurous there are tree-hung walkways and ziplines, and the sprinkler heads offer popular relief from the sun given the lack of shade.

One place you can cool off is the hammock area, complete with monkeys chattering about overhead, and the infrastructure also now extends to a decent kilo restaurant loaded with simple Brazilian classics like feijão beans and stroganoff, a barbecue restaurant (R$32) and snack bar serving up basic bowls of pasta (R$10) and hot dogs (R$4). 

Getting there: It really does require a car or an expensive taxi ride (approximately R$100 from Ipanema) to reach the farm, found on Estrada dos Bandeirantes by taking the last right off Avenida das Américas before the new Grota Funda tunnel. Nearby Prainha, Sítio Burle Marx and some excellent seafood restaurants like Bira, however, make the trip west all the more worthwile.

Fazendinha Estação Natureza details

Address Estrada dos Bandeirantes 26645

Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro

Telephone (21) 2428 3288

Fazendinha Estação Natureza website

R$40

Open Sat-Sun and public holidays 10am-5pm (closed when raining so call ahead to check)

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