Urban explorer

Ari started crawling about five weeks ago – and promptly turned our world upside down all over again. While adjusting to the new reality of having a moving baby hasn’t been without its challenges (babyproofing allll the things), it’s such a joy to watch him move and see his face light up as he makes new discoveries. ⠀

I’m reading Balanced and Barefoot at the moment, all about the huge benefits of unrestricted outdoor play and it’s been really eye-opening. Writes author Angela J. Hanscom:

“Moving around in nature offers many new challenges to the mobile baby. Instead of the continuous smooth surface that most indoor environments offer, crawling and creeping outdoors offers a rich and varied sensory experience(…) In nature, children learn to take risks, overcome fears, make new friends, regulate emotions, and create imaginary worlds.”⠀

While we’re still at the grass-isn’t-for-eating stage, the book has motivated me to ensure we spent as much time outdoors as possible. As we live in a small fourth floor apartment, getting outdoors usually means hitting up a local park. Sometimes, Ari just hangs out on the picnic blanket, taking the world in. Other times, he tentatively crawls off it, pulling at the grass, examining twigs and yes, often trying to put whatever he finds into his mouth!

Luckily Lisbon doesn’t disappoint on the public park front – here are four of our favourite places:

Eduardo VII

There’s lots to do here – scope for water lilies and turtles around Linha d’Água, hang out under trees or at the playgrounds (one has a zip line), enjoy a drink at the kiosk or a pizza Central Parque Quiosque,  take in the beautiful azuelo tiles at the Carlos Lopes Pavilion or of course admire the view across the city from the miradouro (above).

Estrela gardens

One of the nicest parks in the city. Lots beautiful, huge trees throwing gorgeous dappled light around and a fab playground (with baby swings, which the Eduardo VII park sadly doesn’t have). There is also a pond and plenty of feathered friends flying and waddling around. 

Gulbenkian Gardens

I love aimlessly wandering around here, amidst the jungle-like bamboo, winding pathways and small lakes. You need to be careful with littles here, as there is lots of water and very diverse plantlife around, but it is a gorgeous place to spend a few hours (and perhaps be tempted to visit Ground Burger for a bite afterwards).

Monsanto Forest Park

A short bus ride away from our apartment lies “Lisbon’s lung”, a huge forest park. We’ve only explored a tiny bit of it, but what we’ve seen so far we’ve loved – dozens of playgrounds, each one different to the other, pretty picnic areas, a cool cafe and fun looking adventure zone for older kids. 

I’ve created a Google Map listing the above spots, should you be visiting any time soon. I’ll add to Let me know if you do!

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