This particular visit was my second one. I took Sam, Annie and their cousin Adam but left Richard and the little boys behind at the campsite. More fun that way for all of us. We got lost a couple of times in St.Austell, a town I find difficult to navigate. Parking provision is excellent at Eden and there is even a bus if you are parked a long way from the entrance.
As we walked down the slope towards the glasshouses, I got very exited. There was so much to see, it is difficult to do it justice in just a few hours. We spent a long time in the rainforest habitat, my favourite part of Eden. I do love the heat in this glasshouse. The higher up you go, the hotter it gets. Unfortunately, the lookout just under the rooftop was closed due to oppressive heat. The plant variety is mind boggling in the rainforest habitat. There are sections for all major tropical rainforest habitats from around the world. There is also a section dedicated to farmed plants. Bananas produce the most amazing flowers. I didn't manage to get a good photo unfortunately. Did you know that the cashew nut is not a not but a seed, the seed of the cashew apple? Or that the cashew nut shell is toxic, which is why you can't buy cashews in their shells.
|Cashew apple and seed (the small dangly thing)|
There was a dinosaur exhibition at Eden. I am not a big fan of dinosaurs but my teenager does still like them. I thought the exhibition was not as great as it was advertised. The dinosaurs looked very plasticky and I have seen much better models. Still, they seemed very popular with the younger children. There was scary velociraptor walking around Eden and every now and then we could hear exited shrieks. The raptor nearly got me when I queued for an ice cream. My appeal to dinosaurs is unsurpassed.
There was also another exhibition, 'Invisible You: The Human Microbiome'. I am extremely fascinated by all things microbiome. In case you are not as nerdy as I am, the microbiome is the entirety of all micro-organisms living on and in us. The microbiome has so many functions that are not all that well understood but major research is undertaken to elucidate at least some of its many roles. Did you know that Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, is also associated with a lower asthma prevalence when present in infants and young children? I read an interesting paper about this a while ago. The exhibits were all pieces of art rather than 'the real thing'. Don't you think it is great, this marriage of art and science? The picture below is that of a bacterium paper sculpture. For the microbially interested, it is an Escherichia coli bacterium. These bacteria live in your gut. And yes, sometimes this bacterium causes disease, but not normally. It is actually a toxin produced by some strains that make you ill. Unfortunately, the offspring was not nearly as interested as I was. If you are, the link above tells you all you ever wanted to know.
We spent some time wandering through the gardens and the Mediterranean climate habitat. I particularly liked the dozens of chilli plants, planted in order of increasing hotness in the Mediterranean habitat. We had a delicious lunch there, too. It was much better value than I expected. We also treated ourselves to some fresh fruit juice from the smoothie bar in the link between the two glass houses. There were no smoothies, just juices but I didn't feel like starting an linguistic debate with the poor teenager working at the smoothie bar. We don't have a juicer, too messy, too wasteful, but now and then, a fresh juice is great, particularly after the heat in the rainforest.
The gardens around the glasshouses are very interesting, too. There is a large section dedicated to medicinal plants, and also to commercially exploited (mostly edible) plants such as wheat. Amongst all the flora were pieces of art. Some of them were well hidden away, for example atop the canopy in the rainforest habitat, or amongst the olive trees in the Mediterranean habitat. Others are much more obvious. Some of the art is thought provoking, for example the creepy and huge creature made out of recycled white goods (in the collage below only its head is shown).
We didn't spend much time in the Eden shop but it is worth a short visit. There is no tat. We were instead going to the zip slide that spans the valley. We really wanted to do the slide but unfortunately, there was a two hour wait. None of us felt like hanging around and we went back to the campsite. Next time, we'll make a booking.
What do you think? Is Eden a place you would enjoy visiting? We'll go back, no doubt. Just a shame it is at the other end of the country!
As always, thanks for visiting, and thanks for your comments. Have a lovely Friday! Cxx