It's taken me longer than I anticipated to get around to this post; but it will take longer than a few weeks for the memories of the Eden Project to fade. We were all completely blown away by our time there; even my cynical engineer of a husband!
|DH took a lot of the photos!|
Pioneered by Tim Smit, who was also the visionary behind the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Eden is set in a disused clay pit. It has been transformed into a place which celebrates life on Earth and encourages visitors to think about sustainability. The two biomes each house mini-ecosystems, one of Mediterranean plants and one of the rainforest.
We went into the Mediterranean biome first, which is the smaller of the two. It still took our breath away!
This tiny little chap is a "Dorset Naga" - the one of the hottest chillies in the world. It is slightly strange to think that it was bred in a country once notorious for its bland cuisine!
This specimen was growing in an iron cage to protect passers by. Once we had finished strolling through the Mediterranean countryside, we wandered over to the rainforest.
The biomes are both impressive, but the Rainforest Biome is huge. It is large enough to contain the Tower of London, and holds around 16,000 different plants! When we first walked in we were hit by the heat and a wall of moist air. Huge trees towered above us and tropical butterflies flitted by. It was difficult to know what to look at first. There are amazing plants around every bend of the path:
A stream cascades through the middle of it all.
There is even a giant helium balloon, which the gardeners use to tend the tree-tops. What a cool job that would be!
Once we had dragged ourselves away from the biomes, it was lunch time! Eden has a large stage area, which was being used for den-building. While I trekked back to the car for the lunch, (half an hour round trip!), DH and the kids built us a den to eat it in! Tens of thousands of butterflies fluttered around the stage:
This collaborative piece of work, (which my children decided they were "too old" to contribute to), was designed to draw attention to the plight of butterflies.
After lunch we explored the Core building, which in an interactive education centre with loads of buttons to press!
The far wall is covered with fridge doors with the requisite fridge magnets. I couldn't resist!
One of things I really liked about Eden was the collaboration between art and science. At the centre of the Core building is a 70 tonne "Seed":
Made from a single block of Cornish granite, which took two years to find, it has 1800 hand-carved "bumps" and had to be lowered into place with one of the biggest cranes in the world. It is very tactile; we all ran our hands over it. I managed to restrain DS from climbing it!
We finished our visit by investigating the gardens. There was a lot for the children to do. They particularly enjoyed the "barefoot trail" which involved walking through lots of different textures such as bark chips and mud! There was a sensory garden which included my favourites, dahlias.
Eden is not a cheap day out, but we paid with supermarket loyalty vouchers and took a picnic. The canteen is worth a visit, it is not over-priced and is an adventure in itself.
We all absolutely loved our day. It is a very inspiring place, and reminded me of the incredible diversity on this planet we have been entrusted with.