For both Portuguese and Luso-descendants around the world, Portugal dos Pequenitos has been a special part of childhood, a place visited during summer vacations to continental Portugal. Located in Coimbra, this illustrious children’s theme park is celebrating 75 years of bringing cultural history (in miniature form) to children. Almost 50 years later, the Bissaya Barreto Foundation states that a plan to add new monuments to the park is in the works.
In a statement to the Portuguese press, the president of the FBB, Patricia Viegas Nascimento, stated that the new monuments that are being designed to be added to the park will be representative of contemporary Portuguese structures, with the goal of the expansion being to move the park in a more modern direction, or in her words, “não deixar o parque parado no tempo.”
The park has seen a decrease in the number of visitors since 2009. In 2014, the park saw 228,000 visitors, 19% less than in 2005, which registered 283,000 entries. Over the past 10 years, 2007 had the best record, with 331,000, and in 2012 the worst, with 211,000 visitors.
The choice of monuments is still being considered, although the aim appears to be to add more “regional” houses as well as erect structures that replicate buildings constructed in Portugal post-1960. The Bissaya Barreto Foundation also plans to launch new approaches and content.
In keeping with the park’s philosophy of being a locale for both recreation and education, Nascimento also remarked that some technological advancements (like audioguides) may be added for instructive purposes.
According to the FBB president, the expansion also looks to invest in supporting the park’s infrastructure, making way for a “café”, some “esplanadas”, and some shade zones. The existent shop and restrooms will also receive any needed upgrades or improvements. This “facelift”, however, remains focused on erecting authentic copies or replicas of monuments, anticipating the completion in a time span of over four or five years.