of people, including myself, have always wanted to go to a rainforest.
Rainforests contain many wonders, like lush plants of a thousand
different bright colours, exotic animals that you would never find
anywhere else, and so much to explore and discover. Unfortunately, many
rainforests are very far away, and expensive to get to. But, if you
happen to be in Berkshire, you’ll find a place that can be described as
nothing other than extraordinary. The Living Rainforest, a little bit of
the Amazon in England.
The Living Rainforest had changed a lot since I had last been in 2004. There are lots of different plants on display, some of which are found in this country, but some that are only found in faraway rainforests. Some plants have very unique colours – bright and bold – to warn animals of their deadly poisons contained within. Other plants included cocoa plants and Swiss Cheese plants, (which, unfortunately, did not have cheese growing from it), and lilies dotted in the pools.
The Living Rainforest has two main parts, heated glasshouses which house all the plants and wildlife.
The first one, Lowland House, is relatively small but contains Cocoa
Trees, Giant African Land Snails, an Emerald Tree Boa snake and Vanilla
plants. It’s pretty humid and hot; it has to be the right temperature
for all the plants and wildlife. The bad thing was that Dad’s camera
kept steaming up with the heat, so it was quite difficult getting the
photos we did!
The second greenhouse, Amazonica House, is very much larger than Lowland House, and has a much higher temperature. It holds a great pool for various rainforest animals and plants can live in. Rare species of ducks waddle around the house, and birds of many colours fly free. In a large enclosure in one corner of the greenhouse, there are small endangered Goeldi’s monkeys, swinging around. I made quite a few friends out of these cheeky monkeys, one of them kept sticking its tongue out at me!
In the pool of Amazonica house, there are many types of Rainforest animals to see. A dwarf crocodile sits in the warmth of a small lamp in its enclosure, and small turtles swim about gracefully. There was a window for us to see all the colourful fish and turtles swimming around and there was even a giant sting ray, darting around the pool’s floor. Some of the fish we could recognise, like guppies. Guppies were very small, though, and it was hard for us to see them amongst all the other water creatures!
There are also many small creatures at the Living Rainforest, like millipedes and butterflies, were on display around the greenhouses. Some of the insects were brightly coloured, to scare off predators, like some of the plants. Most of the insects were very different to the ones we have in England, and the unique colours and patterns on the rainforest butterflies were beautiful.The birds on display were beautiful too, including a Toucan that was flapping around in its enclosure. The patterns on its beak were lovely, and were multicoloured – red and blue and green all mixed in perfectly together. It really made me notice how beautiful and wondrous nature can be, as I’m pretty sure no human could have designed all the animals so well.
The Living Rainforest is one visit that I will not forget. It’s a mini tropical ecosystem in the English countryside it is stunning, and everyone who put something into the efforts of it’s making must have spend a long time creating it, and, as they will probably tell you, it was all worth it in the end, for this magnificent attraction