By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Visiting an immense city like São Paulo with kids can be a challenge. Yet while major financial and business hubs usually do not cater to young visitors, there are three stops in São Paulo that will make children glad they came along for the visit.
Opened in March 2009, the Catavento Cultural and Educational Center aims to raise the interest of young people in issues related to science, the environment and social problems.
The four thousand square meter center is divided into four spaces: Universe, Life, Engineering and Society. In each of the spaces, the visitor has the possibility of interacting with the theme, be it with electronic games, 3D movies and exhibitions, including a DC-3 plane. used in World War II.
Inaugurated in 1957, the Planetarium located in the Ibirapuera Park was the first of its kind built in Latin America. The apparatus is capable of projecting the sky from any known point in the universe.
With this equipment, visitors can observe the sky seen, for example, from Mars or any other planet. Through a modern projection system which cuts through the infamous polluted São Paulo skies, visitors can also see images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA satellites.
If a young tourist in São Paulo is interested in snakes and reptiles, the Butantan Institute is the place to visit. The Butantan is one of the world’s largest centers for research and production of serums and vaccines against venomous animals. The Institute also has one of the largest collections of snakes in the world, with more than 54,000 specimens.
“I like to see the snakes,” says 7-year-old Bruno Machado, who says the Butantan is one of his favorite places to visit in São Paulo. “I don’t go there very much because my younger sister finds the snakes and bugs yucky,” he adds with a laugh.
The Institute has a tour, where visitors can see up close venomous and non-venomous snakes in an open serpentarium, an environment that reproduces the natural habitat of these creatures.
Palácio das Indústrias, Avenida Mercurio, Parque Dom Pedro II
Tickets: Children under 4: Free; Children 4-12: R$3; Visitors 12 and up: R$6
Parque Ibirapuera, Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral, entrance gate 10
Avenida Vital Brasil, 1500
Tickets: Children under 7: Free; Children 8-12: R$2.50; Visitors 12 and up: R$6