I wanted to take the kids to see Rio’s Lagoa up close, and the best place for that is at the Parque dos Patins. This area is next to the heliport, where you can go on a scenic helicopter tour of the city.
Parque dos Patins means Roller skate’s Park in Portuguese, and there is a large roller skate rink at the center of it, of course. There’s a fairly large playground around the rink, bike rentals, bathrooms (which cost R$2 to use, but at least they’re clean), a restaurant with a beautiful view (Arab, middle eastern cuisine), a small pier and some other kid attractions (not free), such as a large trampoline, ball pit, etc. The parking is controlled by the city of Rio, and they only charge R$2 and you can stay all day long (on a weekday, not sure if it’s the same fee on weekends).
We got there a little before noon on a cloudy-turning-nice day, the park was empty and there were a few tourists taking photos at the pier. The kids immediately loved the fishing birds and ducks swimming around. Eric didn’t want to leave and kept repeating “pato” (duck) every 5 seconds.
After a few photos and a bathroom stop, the kids decided they were hungry and we sat down at Arab to eat, with a gorgeous view of the Lagoa. The one thing that makes this place not-so-perfect is the constant noise of the helicopters going up and down.
The restaurant had menus in (funny) English and Portuguese, prices are Rio-crazy-standard, Brazilians still haven’t understood the purpose of a children’s menu (they had 2 kids’ dishes available, both more expensive than the adult’s meals that we ordered, at R$ 34 each versus R$ 27). I ordered fried kibbe with catupiry (big mistake on the catupiry! It’s a Brazilian cheese that I love, but there was way too much!), which comes with hummus and rice with lentils and fried onions. My mom ordered the same, except she got the baked kibbe instead (which was MUCH better than mine). I also ordered mini-esfihas (meat esfihas, tiny, a basket with 8), these were pastries with ground seasoned meat on top; they were good and the kids loved them. The hummus was quite bad, very bitter, not sure how they managed to do that. Service was very slow, we spent over one hour there and it was empty, so I’m not sure what the waiters were doing. Besides being right next door to a big kid’s park, they had no high chair available, so I had to hold Eric on my lap.
After we finished lunch, we took the kids to the playground. It’s spread out over a large area, and the coolest thing in my opinion was the track painted on the ground – you can rent a bike or a “race car” (that the kids pedal, it doesn’t have an engine) to go around (or bring your own bike if you live in the area).
There were swings, see-saws, monkey bars, a rope-structure for kids to climb…Julia liked it, but everything was too big for Eric, there wasn’t any toddler-sized play equipment. Eric tried a climbing structure with ropes and a “climbing ladder” and went down one mean wavy slide, every kid going down hit their back badly on one of the “waves” (I have no idea why this slide doesn’t work, maybe the “waves” are too big, or the angle is wrong, no idea).
If we had more time, I would rent one of the 3 or 4-seat “bikes” to go around the Lagoa, seems like fun.
Parque dos Patins
Av. Borges de Medeiros, 1900, Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Open daily, 24h