Parks and the Zoo, Lisbon
Take the metro to Pombal and walk the steep promenade through the park for a splendid view over the Avenida da Liberdade, Baixa and the river Tejo. As reward for your exertion you can take a refreshment at the café-restaurant at the eastside of the park. On the back there's a nice terrace with a big pond.
Named after Britain's Edward VII who visited the city in 1903 to reaffirm the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, this is the largest park in central Lisbon.
With neatly clipped box hedging flanked by mosaic patterned walkways, it stretches uphill from Marquês de Pombal Square to a belvedere at the top with fine views.
The big attractions in the park are the two estufas, the hothouse (with the more exotic plants) and the greenhouse filled with tropical plants, ponds, and endless varieties of palms and cacti.
Opposite the estufas on the eastern side of the park, sits an ornately tiled sports pavillion dedicated to Carlos Lopes, the Portuguese athlete who won the marathon at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, and that doubles as a venue for occasional concerts and cultural events
Estufa fria (greenhouse) - Every day 9AM-5:30PM
There is an admission fee, Sunday it is free
I know that Avenida da Libertade is not a park, but, in the true tradition of a European avenue, it is lined with lush parks that are brightened further by beautiful tilework all along the sidewalks. As you approach the centre of the city, by Rossio, the parks become more interesting and unique, with a statue of Poseidon in a fountain. For a visitor who is staying outside of the city centre, walking down the Avenida is a great introduction to Lisbon.
The Parque Eduardo VII is a beautiful green space just north of the city centre. These sculpted gardens are a perfect escape for anyone who feels they have had too much cobblestone and tile, and, as they are on the way to the Gulbenkian compound from Baixa and Bairro Alto, they make a great stop-off point. The park expands from the Praça do Marques do Pombal (at the top of Avenida da Liberdade) north-westward and is broken up by a street. The gardens closest to the Praça are just that, gardens, but as you move away from the centre you hit the estufas - large green houses - and the Pavilhão dos Deportes (see my tip on that marvel of azulejos). There are plenty of sculptures, one dedicated to Amália Rodrigués (the best known female singer of fado) and lots of fountains.
You must visit Europe's largest Oceanarium. Inhabited by 16.000 animals and plants representing over 450 different species, the Oceanarium offers visitors a unique and enchanting experience. Four biotypes, each recreating one of the world’s coastal habitats, are located in the four corner towers which encircle the central aquarium. Together, they constitute a representative set of ocean environments.
The Global Ocean tank, one of the world’s largest aquariums (4 million litres), is visible throughout a visit to the Oceanarium. The tank habitat is that of the high seas, and a good percentage of its inhabitants are large animals, known for being strong swimmers. Most are migratory species, and ranges can span several oceans. The best known are the sharks, rays and barracudas. Large shoals of fish can also be found on the high seas, although they are more common in coastal waters and on the continental shelf.
The Parque das Nações is situated at the grounds of the Expo 98. It was built with the general theme of "The oceans, a heritage for the future" and more than 142 countries and international organizations participated. Now it houses, both during the day and at night, numerous attractions.
You can walk, take a ride with the cable car, visit the Oceanarium, the Macau Pavilion, the Virtual Reality Pavilion, the Atlantic Pavilion. You should definately visit the Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre for shopping, eating local dishes and having a coffee or even a drink.
I strongly suggest you to visit the zoo. Its very funny and very educative for the children. The animals, birds, etc are set in enclosures very similar to their original habitats.
The main attractions are:
Dolphins Bay: the Dolphins Bay was begun in 1995 and is now one of the biggest attractions of the Zoo. Don't miss a funny and interesting show that takes place in the scenery of a fishing village!
Cable car: Opened in 1994, the cable car also became one of the biggest attractions. In two persons cabins, visitors can enjoy a 20 minutes ride over the Zoo offering a most unique view of the zoo gardens. Passing over the hippopotami, the tigers, the lions and many other animals will surely leave you breathless.
Sea-lions: In the sea-lions area you can see a daily show where the relationship between the coach and these affable animals is quite unique.
Reptile land: From the beginning of cellular life on Earth, about 4 thousand million years ago, life was only present in the sea. Around 370 million years ago the first vertebrate animals came to land and reptiles where the first terrestrial animals.
Macaw Show: In the Little Theatre of Nature (Teatrinho da Natureza) an ostentatious and cheerful group of macaws, cockatoos and parrots ride bicycles, do roller-skating, drive jeeps, while others show their intellectual capacities by making calculations and some just sit lazily on sun beds.
Ajuda's Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Portugal. It was built in 1768 by order of the Pombal Marquis, this garden was used by the princesses of the Ajuda Palace and was used as a gathering point for all the species that were brought by the Portuguese discoverers from other countries.
Located in Ajuda, this garden has trees more than a century old and a wonderful view of the Tagus river. Divided into three different areas, Ajuda's Botanical Garden countains four hothouses, one of which being actually used as a restaurant, three lakes, porcelain flower-pots from the 19th century, an 18th-century fountain decorated with writhing serpents, winged fish, sea horses and mythical creatures and many plants and flowers.
The entrance, through green wrought-iron gates in a pink wall, is easy to miss. Opened between 9 am and 8 pm.
Eduardo VII Park is located on the north side of the Liberty Avenue, behind the Pombal Marquis Square. In this park holds exhibitions, concerts and the annual booksellers fair.
Within the park you can find the Lopes Pavilion, built in 1932, a very nice sculpture made by João Cutileiro dedicated to the 25th of April Revolution and the Cold Greenhouse (contains plants and flowers from the five continents) built in 1930.
It is divided in three areas: the original greenhouse, the hot greenhouse and the sweet greenhouse.
In the original greenhouse you'll find an extraordinary vegetation that benefits from the construction . In the hot greenhouse, which is covered with glass, you can see species that need a hotter atmosphere in order to survive. Finally at the sweet greenhouse you can find several species of cactus.
Set in the gardens of the Jardim Zoológico, in the Sete Rios district of the capital, Lisbon Zoo has been operating for over a hundred years, making it one of the oldest in Europe.
There are 2,000 animals in total representing 364 species. Besides the animals there are several attractions and events going on throughout the day, including a dolphin and sea-lion show, pelican feeding session, free-flying bird presentation, cable car, children’s farm, reptile house and zoo train.
Lisbon Zoo's summer opening hours are from 10am until 8pm between the months of April and September, while the winter schedule from October to March is 10am until 6pm.
The priceis €14.50 for adults (€12 for senior citizens) and €11 for kids. Infants aged two and under don't pay.
This is fantasic! I loved it here, all the fish were so fascinating. There is so much to see the 10.50 euro entrance fee was worth every cent. It is suitable for young and old - make it a must see!
The only bad thing was it is not signed from the metro station exit and it did take me quite a while to find it.
Built for Expo 98, Parque das Nacoes still remains popular and is home to one of Lisbon's most interesting sights, the Ocenario, Europe's largest oceanarium (and the third largest in the world).
The Parque lies on a large area of north east Lisbon, just below the Vasco da Gama bridge. With tree lined walkways, traffic free streets, a water garden, a science museum and of course the aforementioned Oceanarium it's not surprising that this is such a popular place to visit.
However some of the sites have closed down since the Expo. The bowling centre is no longer there while the Torre Vasco da Gama in the north of the park is about to become a hotel.
You can buy a ticket for 16.50 Euro which covers entry to many attractions of the park and gives discounts on food and bike hire. This seemed like a good deal for us until we discovered the science museum is for kids and the restaurants offering 15% discount were very difficult to find. The two most interesting things we saw were the Oceanarium and the cable car ride and you can buy separate tickets for these cheaper than the general entry ticket.
The most remarkable facility in the Park of Nations is the Oceanarium. Its internal organisation includes a gigantic aquarium where the visitor can see the global ocean. Besides this central tank, there are four other areas where an equal number of costal habitats have been created, comprising the Artic, the Pacific, the Indian and the Atiantic Oceans. The Oceanarium houses about 15,000 specimens representing two hundred different species.
Lisbon's zoo is a paradise for small children. Not only does it have a good selection of animals, but it also has a small amusement park. The large African animals (lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, gorillas, etc.) are all represented, as well as animals from South America (tapirs, monkeys) and Asia. The zoo also has an interesting section dedicated to its large bird collection. When we we there (June 2006), some of the large animal habitata areas were under renovation.
In addition to the animals, the zoo features plenty of places to eat, a gondola ride that takes you above the animals, and a small amusement park with rides for smaller children. In addition, there are also some gardens in the park complex.
The Zoo needs sponsoring...to feed the animals and give them better conditions.
Some companies sponsor some animals.
A good way to save on taxes...and to help those who didn't ask us to take them from their homes just to enjoy ourselves watching them doing their everyday thing...(the animals, of course).