Tuesday, 6 August 2013

A visit to The Living Rainforest

We went to visit the rainforest, just for a few hours you understand.  Really.  I mean it.  All the way to the rainforest.

Of course we didn't actually set off in our time machine to fly to one of the tropical areas of the world.  We went to visit The Living Rainforest instead.  We have seen the signpost many times but never stopped in before, so this time we decided to make a visit.  Having no idea of what to expect it was a total surprise, but a nice one.

Wooden sculpture of an eagle at the entrance.

Giant fern.

I think this is a beautiful Chusan Palm leaf, it was enormous compared to those I have seen outside.

There are two large "greenhouses" filled with tropical plants, as you might expect, but also more unexpected were the animals that filled the greenhouses too. Tortoises, birds, fish, turtles, insects, frogs were all in residence. The air was filled with fine water mist and it was very warm and sticky inside. All of the children visiting were enthralled with all that they saw and loved walking along the paths and having to duck under the tall leaves which were hanging overhead.

Fabulous trunk on this plant, the scars where the leaves had fallen off made it look as though it had been carved.

You can see from the above two pictures just how large many of the leaves were compared to an adult hand.

You had to watch your step as you never knew when a bird was going to cross the path in front of you, they don't look before stepping out you know! It was amazing to see plants that are sold as houseplants or that we might have seen in outside gardens growing in their true environment and how big they get when the conditions are right. This really proved the adage of "right plant right place" that gardeners talk about. When they get what they want these plants really go for it.

This amazing flower bud was just starting to bloom.

These are some of the amazing plants and animals that we saw. Unfortunately taking pictures was a little difficult due to the mist in the air.  I hope I have conveyed some of the atmosphere and type of plants there are to see.

The tortoises sat under a heat lamp, just in case it wasn't hot enough in the green house already!

This is a Stags Horn Fern.

These are some fairly young banana plants.

These fish and this ray were very hard to photography.  They obviously didn't want to stay still for a pose.

Hibiscus always have such stunning blooms whether they are single or double flowers like this one.

The texture on these leaves looked like crocodile skin.

These were  fabulous colour.

There were lots of little ducks, mostly walking around in the undergrowth, but these seemed to like sitting on one of the roof supports for some reason!

Butterfly pupae waiting to hatch out.  We didn't see any butterflies on our visit, but these are just waiting to burst out and add some colour and even more life I am sure.

I would really recommend a visit. The ticket is not cheap, but it does give you revisits for a year, so you can return and explore again. There is also an education centre and you can go on a guided tour - we didn't do that - so this would make the ticket worth it also.

After all the years of driving past this collection of plants, it was worth a visit and I hope that we will go again.


The Living Rainforest don't know I exist by the way, this is just a report of my day out which I wanted to share.