Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Biosphere 2

The Sunset reveals a Secret Rain Forest hidden beyond the Glass Windows
 "This was not a failed experiment!!  If I hear one more person say that...." During an argument in the car before we arrived to the Biosphere, we discussed whether or not the Biosphere was a failed experiment.  I didn't think so but my other half Pat did. It was a rather lengthy chat, but it came to a halt when we were shown a movie and one of the scientists told us, the audience, that it was not a failed experiment.  Both of us laughed outloud enjoying our previous conversation even more.

The Visitor Center

First impressions.  I cannot help but feel saddened by this place.  It was a live thriving experiment that was threatened only several years ago.  It was the talk around town and it was pristine and beautiful.  Today, it is still magnificent, but the rust on the pipes is beginning to show. The place was shut down not so long ago as Columbia University which managed it didn't want the Biosphere anymore.  There was a debate for several months on who or if the place would remain.  Condos were proposed for the area and people felt strongly about leaving it as a research station.  In a bold move forward, the U of A took control of the managment in 2007. The CDO Ranching are partners in the ownership.  Today it has classrooms, conference rooms, and many other things for the public and researchers to use for educational purposes.

The ticket price is 20 dollars for an adult.  Since movies this past year have been so terrible, we felt why not help out the research and learn something new! But seriously...movies have been terrible this year.  Anyhow, the tour lasted for about an hour and a half plus another hour for all the extra stuff around the Biosphere(i.e. the ocean viewing room).  The place is located 1 hour north of downtown Tucson near the small city of Catalina.
Idiot me!  We've all done it.....forgotten the memory card and arrived at the place over an hour away with no store in site. You only hope that the shop has a disposable camera for sale or that they actually sell a memory card!!  Which they didn't.  So I reluctantly purchased the disposable camera and snapped shots I only hoped would turn macroshots, microshots, inverted shots....just general shots from a distance.  How did we ever live without digital cameras?  I could give up anything in this world but my camera.  It's an extension of who I am and what I am able to do.....I've always loved photography and snapping images of an adventure or lesson randomly taught in the middle nowhere.  The camera equals life. :) Lesson learned.  I'll have extra memory cards in my camera bag. I'll need a lot for Panama with all the video shots and pics!

Now for the fun.  I love the desert.  Please don't misunderstand me.  It's just that when I entered this magical world of plants; I didn't want to leave.....especially the rain forest area.  I was transported to another time and place.  We didn't spend all that much time in this particular biome, but while I was there, I didn't want to leave.  In typical rain forest fashion, the leaves blocked out the sun and covered the windows.  We were not in the high desert anymore.....we were in the Amazon.  Tropical plants are awesome and if the desert didn't have our frosty nights in winter, they would be very hardy here.  Once established, a lot of these plants don't require huge amounts of water.

The skinny.  Wear comfortable shoes.  You will see 5 biomes...the ocean, desert, rainforest, a coastal desert, marsh, and savanna.  The main research happening right now is focused on climate change.  The Biosphere is located on 3.14 acres. The campus is 34.5 acres.  It's 91 feet at its' highest point. It's open from 9 AM until 4 PM everyday except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The phone is 520-838-6200 or check out the website at    Email is  

This place is researching "green rooftops" in an effort to reduce urban islands of heat in our large cities.  These concrete islands are pushing the much needed monsoon rains away from the city.  This creates a stress on water use. Water harvesting, solar panels, as well as other projects revolving around a sustainable world are explored.

Because I am stupid and left my memory card in the computer, I was not able to get excellent pics inside the place.  I was so angry...and even now, while typing, I am having an issue with the terrible disposable  camera!!!  The Venezuelan Rain Forest did not come out because of all the humidity.....these pics below are terrible because they are dark and misty. It was really a cool biome to enter. Well at least you get the idea that a rain forest in all her glory is dark.....

The Biosphere is almost completely blocked out here in this huge area filled with over 90 different species modeled after a Venezuelan Rain Forest.

Notice how the plants will grab any sunlight they can get.  Here we see pothos dropping down from an opening in the rain forest canopy.
Why the name Biosphere 2? Because Biosphere 1 is our planet Earth.  Until next time, Happy Adventures!!!  And don't forget your memory cards!!:)


  1. I have lived in AZ long enough to remember all the news coverage when the scientists were 'locked inside'. I think for many of us it is a landmark to be seen off in the distance from I-10. Your visit shows how interesting the biosphere is and has renewed my curiousity :-)

  2. What a great place! $20.00 seems worth it to me to see all the beauty. I know what you mean by digital cameras. I do remember using film and you got what you got. No memory card...bummer. Sometimes we learn things the hard way! Hopefully I will be able to see this place when I visit Arizona!


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