on September 17, 2012
We spent the most wonderful day at the unusual, wacky Eden Project. It is close to St Austell, about 20 miles from Padstow and 40 minutes drive. We got there early, June to November the gates to the site open at 9am. The ticket desk opens at 9.30am and the biomes themselves open at 10am. It is a good idea to get here at 9. We did this, found a parking space really close to the entrance, got our tickets without queuing at all and entered the biomes in the morning when they were not so busy. In the afternoon, the crowds were intense, we spent that time outside and avoided the packed biomes. Entrance cost is £13.50 for adults and £5.00 for children.The site was originally a china clay mine. It is amazing what they have done here and given the whole place a wonderful new lease of life. It is a huge site - you definitely need a full day to explore and see everything. The biomes themselves are actually the biggest glasshouses in the world.After buying our tickets, we strolled down the steep hill to the biomes. There are lots of things to see on the way. Our 8 year old loved exploring and finding all the hideaways, spy holes and short cuts.We had coffee and cakes in the cafe between the 2 biomes. The food was excellent and I would highly recommend it here. We also bought a loaf of their delicious bread to take away.The biomes are amazing. We went into the Rainforest Biome first. This is the bigger of the two and the more interesting in my opinion. There are lots of waterfalls, insects, small reptiles and the most spectacular exotic plants. We saw everything from huge waterlilies to giant bamboo to all different kinds of bananas - mind-blowing they grow these things in North Cornwall!It is extremely hot and exceptionally humid in the Rainforest. Bring bottles of water - you really need to keep hydrated and make sure you wear layers. It may be cool outside, you will definitely need to cool off when you go inside.They have a lookout area 50 feet above the rainforest where you can climb up to in small groups. We queued for this, but our son bottled out at the last moment. They ask you frequently in the queue whether you suffer from a range of medical conditions and advise going up if you do. I waited with our son, my husband climbed up to the top. He said the heat and humidity up there were almost unbearable (he has a high tolerance so it must have been bad), but also if wobbled a lot and made some people feel very uncomfortable. I was quite relieved we had given this a miss.Look out for the baobab smoothies - £1.00 a shot, they are delicious and wonderfully refreshing. We also found an origami session for children where our son joined in and had a great time.The other biome has a Mediterranean theme. It is much smaller and much cooler, but also very interesting. I would advise doing the Rainforest in the morning before the crowds hit, and the Mediterranean afterwards. That way, you avoid what would be the intense heat in the Rainforest with the crowds.There are lots of outside areas to explore, fascinating and unusual statues and play areas for children with a difference. The Core building has lots of hands-on exhibits and there was den building as well.Be sure to wear comfortable shoes here - there are steep hills and the whole site is 35 acres - this means lots of walking. At the end we took the tractor drawn land train to get back up to the exit - this was very welcome.Have a look around the shop too before you leave. They have all sorts of interesting things for sale that you wouldn't find anywhere else.We loved the Eden Project - 3 generations of our family visited and there was absolutely something for all of them at this great place. It is educational and fun and makes you realise the diversity of our planet.
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