Attractions in Campinas, Brazil: What to do, where to go
The large expanses of forests and parks make a major contribution to the quality of life for the people of Campinas, and are definitely some of the most popular attractions for tourists. The city government is currently creating even more parks, with the intention being to meet the United Nations recommendation of having 130 square feet of green space per inhabitant. Campinas, however, is not just made up of forests and parks; it also has a wide variety of spaces for cultural and sporting activities. It is, without doubt, a city not to be missed during your travels in Brazil.
Visited by more than a million people a year, this is a fantastic place to go walking. The Jequitibas Forest is one of the largest and oldest recreational areas in the city. It features a zoo with over 600 species of birds, reptiles and mammals, along with fountains, a natural history museum, a children's theater, kiosks, and a play area. It really is a great place to enjoy a fun day out in the fresh air. There are many other beautiful forests near the city, including the following:
- Paz Yitzhak Rabin Forest
- Valenza Forest
- Artistas Forest
- Cambarás Forest
Emilio San Jose Selim Nature Park
In 1987, by state government decree, the old Mato Dentro estate was converted into an eco-park and over 700 acres of land was reforested. The objective of this was to preserve the region's assets, such as its beautiful architecture and stunning landscapes. Today, the park is open to the public, and amazes visitors with its variety of Brazilian flowers, such as the rare species from the bay of the Piracicaba River, as well as other exotic plants and palms.
Lagoa do Taquaral
"Lagoa do Taquaral" (Bamboo Grove Lagoon) is one of the most important areas of the city. This park has a variety of cultural and recreational spaces, among them the lagoon, called Lagoa Isaura Telles Alves de Lima, which has an exact replica of the Caravela Anunciacao, the ship used by the Portuguese explorers who discovered Brazil. Other attractions in the park include a bird nursery, an area of forest designed for family picnics, a tramway, and also walking trails that wind through the exuberant woodland area surrounding the main lagoon.
The following are other parks that are well worth visiting:
- Mata de Santa Genebra
- Chico Mendes forest
Palácio dos Azulejos (The Tile Palace)
An integral part of the city's history, the former residence of the Baron of Itapura is now called the Palacio dos Azulejos. Built in 1878, it has been constructed using marble and metal elements, and features a facade embellished with Portuguese neo-Gothic style glazed mosaic tiles, which lends a majestic touch to the panorama of the city. The building was donated by the Baron's family in 1908 to house the government headquarters, which it did so until the late sixties. Today it is home to the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS).
Estacion Cultura (Culture Station)
The Culture Station is one of the city's attractions that you have to see. Formerly a train station, but now restored and transformed, it is a beautiful cultural and recreational center that's widely regarded as an iconic symbol of Campinas.
The Campinas Planetarium is the only one of its kind in Brazil, and features the latest high precision instruments. Inside the building there is a large dome onto which the images of the night sky are projected. Visit the planetarium and experience a fascinating adventure in space!
Torre do Castelo
Construction started on the "Torre do Castelo" (Castle Tower) in 1936, and was finished in 1940. Located in Plaza 23 October, it is almost 2,500 feet tall, making it one of the tallest buildings in Campinas. From the top floor of the tower you'll have a spectacular panoramic view of the city far below.
Campinas Municipal Aquarium
This is the only aquarium in Brazil that presents the evolution of animals in an educational way. It has 49 tanks with more than 200 species of sea life, including dogfish, lion fish, starfish, scorpion fish, seahorses, turtles, coral and sea snakes.
The City Museum was created in 1992, bringing together the collections of the three museums that existed in the city at that time. The museum has developed a program of activities that focus on the history of Campinas, including exhibitions, theater shows, courses and seminars. Other popular museums in the area are:
- Campinas Contemporary Art Museum
- The Museum of History
- The Indigenous Museum
- The Museum of Folklore
- The Natural History Museum
Inaugurated in 1883, and taking over 70 years to build, the Metropolitan Cathedral really is a beautiful building. The whole structure was built out of compressed clay, which has been the traditional method of construction for centuries in Sao Paolo. Upon entering you'll find antique wooden furnishings, Austrian pews, silver chandeliers, crucifixes, and hand-carved altars. Whether you are religious or not, this is a fabulous building that is well worth visiting during your trip to Campinas.
Carlos Gomes Square
Located on Irma Serafina Avenue, this square was inaugurated in honor of Carlos Gomes, in 1880. Nowadays it is one of the most popular recreational areas in the center of Campinas. In 1914, a beautiful garden and kiosk were built, and it became a location for concerts, featuring a whole host of bands. Today the square still remains a popular place for families to spend the day. It's also worth taking a look at the two monuments, one in honor of Rui Barbosa, and the other is dedicated to Tomas Alves.
Located half an hour away from the center of Campinas, Hopi Hari is one of the biggest theme parks in Brazil. Probably the most popular ride is the Eiffel Tower, which lifts you up over 200 feet and then drops you back to earth in three seconds flat. It also has a 150-foot Ferris wheel, a theater, a 3D cinema, video games, and much, much more.
Wet'n Wild, one of the biggest water parks in Brazil, is just 20 minutes away from Campinas. It spans a total of 40 acres, and has a maximum capacity of 12,000 people. There are over 20 attractions designed for all ages, including waterslides, a wave pool, and a beautiful area with a natural lake surrounded by lush green woodland.
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