The Eden Project: A Parent’s Survival Guide

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From The Eden Project website

What is it? A rain forest in a china clay pit, the largest greenhouse in the world, an education in our relationship with the planet, the Mediterranean brought to Cornwall.

Why go? To understand the relationship between people, plants and planet; to marvel at the geometric biomes; to experience the largest indoor rainforest; for a fun filled family day out.

Although families are well catered for, it’s a big site with lots to see and do so a bit of planning helps you to get the best out of the day. Here are a few top tips and things we’ve picked up along the way:

What to wear: Comfortable shoes and layers are the order of the day. It gets very hot and humid in the Rainforest Biome. If you have coats, hang them up before you go in.

What to take: Drinks, snacks. The biomes won’t protect you from the sun, so take suncream on a sunny day. Take water into the Rainforest Biome.

Getting around: There can be a lot of walking and little legs can get tired. There is a shuttle bus from the car parks to the main site (it can be a long walk). The whole site is pushchair friendly. There’s a free land train that goes down to the biomes and back, threre can be a queue for this at busy times. If you end your day in the core building, there is a lift and then a short walk to the exit/shop.

Plan ahead: Check out the Eden Project website before you go. There are various themed events throughout the year. For a few of these you need to book ahead, many you just turn up for. There are daily storytelling sessions in the Mediterranean Biome, check the times when you arrive.  Ice skating is popular in the winter months (the kids don’t know it’s there yet and we’re not telling them – I just can’t do it!).

What to eat: Decide ahead of time where and when you will eat. There are cafes in and around the Link building, as well as one in the Core and one in the entrance, most have options for little ones. Inevitably there are queues at peak times, so plan ahead to avoid the hunger tantrums (or is that just me?).  On top of the entry fee, lunch for a family can add up to a big spend, especially if you’re there all day and make a couple of stops. There are lots of places to picnic if you want to keep the costs down.

Little kids: Don’t overlook the the sand pit and willow structures – the little kids love these as much as the bigger attractions. There’s also WEEE Man, a giant 23-ft high waste-monster made out of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), representing the amount the average British household throws away in a lifetime. What’s he made of?

weee

Bigger kids: Adventurous? Fly on England’s longest and fastest zip wire, plummet at 50mph from 65ft over a cliff edge on a giant swing, or take a leap of faith from a 12-metre platform! (Amazing experiences, all at an extra cost). Climb the steps to the rainforest lookout, an aerial platform up above the canopy in the Rainforest Biome. (Open on cooler days).

Discounted entry: If you are a resident of Cornwall or Devon you can get a locals’ pass. For some weekends over winter, certain groups can get in free (NHS employees, Emergency Services and many more), see here for details. Otherwise, buy your ticket online at least a day before you visit and you can get  10% off and your ticket lasts for a year. 

Staying longer: If you want to extend your visit, there is a youth hostel on site:

The modern en-suite bedrooms are made from recycled shipping containers and they’re fully kitted out with high spec bathrooms and all the convenient comforts you’d expect from a hostel, even TVs!
The hostel site includes a large heated reception marquee that can be used as a fun social space, and there’s a campsite a short walk away if you want to be even closer to nature. You can pitch your own tent or hire a beautiful festival-inspired bell tent in the summer months.

I hope you have a great time! If you have any top tips or best bits, do share them here.

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