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06222012-1If soccer was on your mind last week, you are not alone. Viewers worldwide have World Cup frenzy. According to FIFA, a record-setting 43 million people watched the World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia. Even in the United States, where soccer is less popular than Europe and South or Central America, World Cup viewership has set records. 11 million people watched ESPN’s telecast of the match between the United States and Ghana, a record-setting number of viewers for a FIFA match on ESPN. Fans may be focused on the head shots and footwork, saves and GOOAALs, but a peek beyond the World Cup stadiums reveals a country worthy of a closer look.

Inside Brazil—

06222012-2Brazil is a country of multitudes; Brazil welcomes a diverse collection of food and culture, geography and ecosystems. Explore Brazil’s many sides at KidscornerBrazil. Begin in the geography section: Did you know Brazil is larger than the continental United States? Or that it is one of the most populated countries in the world?

From the beach to the rain forest, Brazil’s ecosystems create a rich range of homes for flora and fauna. Meet the plants and animals that live in Brazil. Brazil’s geography and climate also create natural resources and industrial opportunities. Learn more about what is made in Brazil.

How did Brazil become so large? What is the official language? (Hint! It isn’t Spanish!) And how does Brazil’s history create its own melting pot? This time, read about Brazil’s history, and her people.

06222012-3One of the best parts of traveling to another country is the chance to experience another culture. What food will you try and love…or not? View a visual menu of Brazilian food. Click on the name of the five dishes to find recipes. See how Brazil’s history influenced its art and culture.

Brazil’s Treasures—

Brazil is home to 19 World Heritage Sites, places the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) considers important to people worldwide and worthy of protection and conservation. View a list of Brazil’s 12 cultural and 7 natural World Heritage Sites. Use the UNESCO site to visit a sampling of these historic and natural treasures: Brasilia, Central Amazon Conservation Complex, Pantanal Conservation Area, and Rio de Janeiro.

World Cup Cities—

06222012-6The 2014 World Cup events are spread out over 12 Brazilian cities. Three of the host cities—Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and Cuiaba/Pantanal—will be familiar; they are World Heritage Sites you just explored. Brazil 360 offers visitors a chance to tour the 12 host cities via interactive, 360 degree videos. Select a city from the top menu to begin. Drag your mouse in any direction as the video tour shares the scene around you. Don’t forget to look up and down! You may not be there but with Brazil 360, you just might feel the breeze in your hair, or smell the heavy scent of gardenias.  To experience Brazil’s diversity, tour several cities.

Finally, try the National Geographic’s Brazil quiz. How many of the ten questions will you know the answers to? Store this information in your brain; it may be useful in 2016 when Brazil hosts the summer Olympics.