Located in what is known as the “South Zone” of Rio de Janeiro, the Jardim Botanico or Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1822. Originally founded by the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Brazil and Portugal, Dom João VI, in 1808, the gardens were off limits to the general public for almost 14 years. Later known as King John VI, Dom João founded the garden to acclimate spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg that were imported from the West Indies. From this humble beginning, however, has evolved one of the greatest tropical botanical gardens in the world.
The most famous attraction in the Botanical Garden are the Royal Palms which grace the entrance. Known as the Avenue of Royal Palms, this entrance is lined with a total of 134 soaring palm trees and spans 800 yards. Originally reserved only for the royal family, the majestic King palms in the Jardim Botanico were all grown from the seeds of a single tree known as the Palma Mater.
The Jardim Botanico is a wonderful place to spend a leisurely afternoon if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Nestled directly under the right arm of one of the newest seven wonders of the world, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Garden also provides one of the most amazing views of the statue in all of Rio de Janeiro. The Botanical Garden extends over 350 acres and is home to more than 6,000 different species of both tropical and subtropical plants and trees. You’ll find over 900 varieties of palm trees alone. Many are over a century old. The Botanical Garden is far from uninhabited however, as it is also home to over 140 species of birds.
Items you don’t want to miss while in the Jardim Botanico include the amazing Victoria Regis floating on the Lago Frei Leandro pond, the Japanese Garden, the censorial garden and the many sculptures and fountains that are majestically displayed in the area. The central fountain is also surrounded by royal palms and was actually set in the park in 1905.