There is enough in Campo Grande  to keep you pleasantly occupied for a day. The city center is quite compact and can easily be explored by foot. Taxis are plentiful and cheap. The most useful bus route goes along the main street of Avenida Afonso Pena “Via Shopping Campo Grande,” the city’s principal shopping.
Adjacent to the leafy main square of Praça da República in a building belonging to the university, the Museu Dom Bosco (Rua Barão do Rio Branco 1843, tel. 67/3312-6491, www.museu.ucdb.br , R$3) is a fascinating museum. The geology section has fossils of everything from gigantic sand dollars to prehistoric fish as well as some multicolored quartz specimens. It’s hard not to be knocked out by the two rooms lined floor-to-ceiling with display cases of thousands of gorgeously iridescent butterflies (and creepy crawly insects).
The lifelike dioramas starring an expertly stuffed cast of Mato Grosso ’s most exotic birds and animals (including giant rheas and anacondas) are also quite compelling. Meanwhile, the ethnology section features a splendid collection of artifacts made and used by regional indigenous groups such as the Bororo, Xavante, and Carajá. A new and much larger museum is currently under construction.
For further exposure to local indigenous culture, head to the Memorial da Cultura Indígena (Rua Terena, tel. 67/3314-3544, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, R$2). The memorial is composed of two giant ocas (circular indigenous dwellings) made from giant bamboo and bacuri fibers. One functions as a craft workshop and visitor center, while the other sells authentic artesanato such as ceramics and weavings. The complex is situated within Brazil ’s first urban Indian reservation, home to the over 9,000 Indians, many of whom belong to the Terena group. East of downtown, it is located in the bairro of Tiradentes and accessed from BR-262 (an extension of Av. Joaquim Murtinho) at the exit to Três Lagoas.
To get a feel for local culture, hit the Feira Central, on Avenida Calógeras adjacent to the Estação Ferroviária, which is held Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. into the wee small hours. Aside from the exotic scents and colors of local fruits and vegetables, the market is full of Paraguayans hawking toys and trinkets and Indians from the countryside selling medicinal plants, seed jewelry, and handicrafts. Should you want a bite to eat, you’ll find everything from skewers of barbecued meat to sobá.