The adventure of being a Portuguese #Lisbon 4
Portugal is definitely one of those colorful European countries that have a rich variety of attractive museums with different themes. Having said that, today I will turn my attention to a different type of landmark in the Portuguese capital. We will talk about the zoo, the aquarium and the botanical garden of Lisbon. Three maintained, rich and unique spaces from which we can learn a lot about our planet.
The Portuguese capital knows how to maintain these places and how to present them as attractive destinations for plant and animal lovers, or just for people who want to learn more about our world.
Jardim Zoológico de Lisboa
Founded in 1884, the Lisbon Zoo is the first park with fauna and flora on the Iberian Peninsula. Today the zoo has a new mission and a new message. It has new attractions and facilities. It is a place where conservation and education combine, with about 2,000 animals living in the zoo in a group of approximately 300 species, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
The zoo gives you the opportunity to experience a full “tour around the world” without leaving Lisbon. There you will find Sumatran tigers in the dense greenery of the rainforest, you will be able to observe the behavior of lions, giraffes and elephants from the savannah in Africa and enjoy the majestic flights of the colorful birds of South America.
Walking around the zoo, I was able to see first hand the efforts and diligence that people put into creating a good balance between animals and visitors. The place is kept clean and tidy, there is no lack of information, and if you need help, there is always someone to help.
In addition to the rich variety of animal representatives, the zoo provides other experiences. One of them is close acquaintance with dolphins – in that way visitors witness their playful and intelligent nature. But perhaps the attraction that impressed me the most was a 20-minute mini cable lift ride over the zoo. This way you can experience something completely new, but mostly you will see the zoo in a different and attractive way.
The zoo is located in the northwestern part of the city, which is well connected by various lines of public transport. Depending on where you are, you can find the best way to get around here;
Summer working hours:
From 21.03 to 20.09 – from 10:00 to 20:00 h
Winter working hours:
From 21.09 to 20.03 – from 10:00 to 18:00 h
Important: ticket offices close an hour before the end of the garden;
For adults (13-64)
For children (4-12)
For under 4 it is free
For retirees (65+)
Important: the price of the ticket includes a one-time ride on the lift, as well as a dolphin show (for it you need to find out in advance when it will be;
I advise you to visit the park in the morning, when most animals are active or enjoy the sun;
The zoo visit takes viewed 2-3 hours;
Oceanarium of Lisbon
As a country bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it is inevitable that this has affected its culture and coexistence with it. On this occasion, Lisbon has created one of the most interactive and scientific aquariums in the world.
The Lisbon Aquarium is the second largest in Europe, after L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia. It owns more than 16,000 animal species from over 450 different subfamilies. Founded in 1998, its building to this day is one of the most attractive in the city. It “floats” in the ocean and can only be accessed by crossing a footbridge.
The aquarium has two floors and everything revolves around a huge central aquarium (the largest in Europe). The animal species are arranged thematically, and on the top floor there are representatives that live closest to the water surface, while on the lower floor you will find the deep-water ones.
The central aquarium is probably the most impressive part. It is home to hundreds of species, including several species of sharks, stingrays, manta rays and colorful tropical fishes, and one of the main attractions is the large sunfish.
Around the central aquarium are four smaller ones, representing different habitats with their native flora and fauna: the rocky coast of the North Atlantic, the coastline of Antarctica, the forests of algae from the Pacific Ocean and the tropical Indian coral reefs. These tanks are separated from the central tank only by large acrylic sheets to create the illusion of a larger aquarium. On the first floor there are an additional 25 themed aquariums with characteristics of the habitats.
The place is really impressive and in fact with the visit here you are immersed in a completely different and exciting world. In addition to presenting the rich underwater life, other important and significant topics are touched upon here, such as the protection of the world’s oceans and the rescue of animal species from pollution. The Lisbon Aquarium is an important interactive and educational center for the whole of Europe and the world.
The Lisbon Aquarium is located in the eastern part of the city on the banks of the Tagus River. It can be reached by various transport lines, but for the fastest and most convenient I recommend taking the metro (red line) and getting off at Oriente metro station.
From 10:00 to 20:00
Important: the last time to enter is an hour before the aquarium closes;
For children between 4-12 years
For people 65+
For children under 3 years
The aquarium is viewed for 3 hours;
Jardim Botânico de Lisboa
There are four botanical gardens in Lisbon, each of which is different and unique in itself. Today we will pay attention to the oldest and main garden in the city, we will talk about the others in a separate article.
The Botanical Garden of Lisbon is located in the heart of the city and covers 10 acres. It is almost invisible from the surrounding buildings and streets, but once you enter it, you are transported to a whole new world. Founded in 1878, it was once considered the best botanical garden in Southern Europe. Today, although it is widely ignored by visitors to the city, it still has one of the largest collections of subtropical vegetation on the continent.
Its dense vegetation and exotic plants makes it one of the most interesting places in the city, with over 18,000 species from around the world (each well marked). Some of the collections deserve special mention:
- The exceptional variety of palm trees brought from all continents gives a tropical atmosphere to several places in the garden.
- Cicadas, real living fossils, representing ancient and mostly extinct flora, are one of the hallmarks of the garden. Nowadays they are extremely rare and some species are preserved only in botanical gardens.
- The garden is also particularly rich in tropical species from New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and South America.
This is just a small part of the plants you can discover here. Do not miss the opportunity to be transported to a fairytale world, where you will find plants from every corner of the planet that create unique floral scenes. Just do as I do – sit on one of the many benches in the garden and enjoy the atmosphere.
The Botanical Garden of Lisbon is located in the city centre, which makes it easily accessible. I advise you to move on foot to see and feel the city in more detail.
Summer working hours:
From 01.04 to 30.09 – from 10:00 to 20:00
Winter working hours:
From 01.10 to 31.03 – from 10:00 to 17:00
Importantly, the last one can be entered an hour before the closing of the botanical garden;
For students and retirees
For families (4+ people)
I advise you to visit the park in the afternoon, when you can enjoy the soft light surrounded by the impressive plant representatives here;
The botanical garden is viewed in 1 hour;
With this article, I hope I have been able to show you Lisbon in a different light. This city is not just rich in culture and historical sites, but has an irreplaceable biodiversity, which gives meaning and added value to the experience.