The Eden Project is now one of Cornwall’s, and indeed the UK’s, most popular tourist attractions.It was one of the top reasons for choosing Cornwall as our holiday destination this year.We visited with our 3 year old and a 6 year old.
As you enter the site, what they call the ‘Roofless Biome’ the view is remarkable.The famous plastic biomes are of course the centre of attention, but they are surrounded by magnificent lush green planting.You can either stroll down the winding path or take the ‘land train’ – tractor pulled carriages.We walked down and there are also a number of narrow short cuts for the kids too.
We opted to go in the smaller of the two biomes first – the Warm Temperate Biome.Recreating the climate of Southern Europe, Southern Africa and West Coast America the biome is pleasantly warm and full of the plants which you associate with a Mediterranean diet – olives, grapes and peppers.Each plant of interest has an explanation board nearby and there are artworks spread amongst the planting.To be honest there is comparatively little for younger children to do in this section, especially if they are not yet reading.
The Humid Tropical Biome, the largest conservatory in the world, is the star attraction.Firstly bear in mind that it is hot and humid inside so wear layers for your visit.My veins run with pure ice but even I had to take my jacket off by about half way around!The kids could not fail but get excited here however.How cool is it to see bananas growing, gushing waterfalls, bridges to walk over and a house made completely from the largest bits of bamboo you have ever seen?
The displays and artworks in this section are much more interesting and relevant to children, showing how rainforest peoples live and where the foods we eat are grown.And yes, it is quite breathtakingly beautiful.
Wheelchairs and pushchair accessibility are maximised, but it could be hard getting all the way round the Humid Biome with a pushchair due to the gradients at some points, so bear in mind that babies and non-walking toddlers might have to be carried.
We took the land train back, definitely a high point for the children.For adults, it was fascinating to visit after having heard so much about it. To be honest, I felt that the children probably would have got more out of it had they been older, as the quizzes, information boards and guidebook require a fair degree of reading skill.Sounds like a great excuse to visit again in few years time!
There is a regular programme of events with kid’s activities during school holidays.For more information about upcoming events, opening times and admission visit their website at www.edenproject.com
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting