Wondering what to do with antsy preschoolers in Lisbon? Looking for a break from seeing Lisbon with kids? Here, you’ll be the only tourists in sight!
Little kids love farm animals. It’s just one of those things that are almost universal. And so Lisbon’s municipal government has created the Olivais Educational Farm (Quinta Pedagógica dos Olivais).
This swath of farmland right in the middle of the city is not a tourist attraction. It’s a place where Lisboetas take their kids as a treat. And it’s a simple affair: pastures, barns, a vegetable garden/orchard, a grassy place to play and an outdoor eating area.
But if you are in Lisbon with kids who are tired of sightseeing, and you’re looking for a place where they can play and you can relax, this is just about perfect. Oh, and entrance is free, which is always a plus!
As you come through the gates, the picnic area, with tables and chairs, will be on your right, overlooking a pasture. Try to guess which animal will be there: the caretakers move the animals from one enclosure to another, depending on the time and day. Up ahead on your left will be several buildings that serve as offices, workshops and house activities for school trips.
Across from these buildings is the grassy park area, with a couple of simple play structures. The highlight is the “treehouse”, actually a little house on stilts, just high enough that the branches wrap around it.
Don’t miss the “Pacifier Tree”, for a laugh. This perfectly normal olive tree is always decorated with pacifiers (chuchas in Portuguese). When kids are old enough to give up their pacifier, parents come from around Lisbon to have them hang it on the Árvore das Chuchas (Pacifier Tree). Kids love it, the pacifier is gone, and everyone wins. Clever, huh? My own daughter hung up her chuchas there a few years back. (They’re not there anymore; the caretakers remove the old pacifiers to make room for new ones, but she doesn’t know that!)
Towards the back of the Quinta are the barns and the pigpen.
As you turn back towards the entrance, you’ll pass the rest of the pastures, and a garden/orchard set back from the more lively animal area. This will bring you full circle to where you started, and that’s really all there is.
But my kids love it, and have for years. Less than 30 minutes from the city center, the Quinta is a great break from sightseeing in Lisbon with kids. It’s peaceful, fun, and a great chance for the little ones to run, play, and see farm animals up close. Sometimes very close. The chickens and the peacocks run free during the day, and are very personable… or actually just want to know if we’ll give them something to eat.
But we won’t, of course. We know better than that! And if we didn’t, there are signs everywhere.
How to get there: Take the metro to the Olivais station, and follow the signs to the exit that says “Spacio Shopping”. Walk along the Rua Cidade de Bissau, going northwest past a grassy area with a large iron sculpture of an olive tree (on your right in 3-5 minutes). Take the first right after you pass this area, into what looks like a parking lot. The Quinta will be on your right as you reach the top of the short slope. If you miss your turn, the next real street (Rua Cidade dos Moçâmedes) has signs to the Quinta Pedagógica for those coming in by car. Following these signs, you will go around the block, but you’ll arrive quickly just the same.
When to go:
- In the winter (Oct – Apr)
- Tuesday-Friday: 9am – 5:30pm
- Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10am – 5:30pm
- The Quinta is closed on Mondays, Chirstmas, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday
- In the summer (May – September)
- Tuesday-Friday: 9am – 7pm
- Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10am – 7pm
- The Quinta is closed on Mondays and on May 1st
Have you been to the Quinta Pedagógica? What’s your favorite thing to do in Lisbon with kids?