Date: 
Monday, July 15, 2013 - 17:00

New jungle walkway and tropical butterflies in flight

The Eden Project in Cornwall has opened a new aerial walkway and is introducing flights of tropical butterflies into its world-famous Rainforest Biome this summer.

The wooden path opens up the biggest rainforest in captivity in a new way and among the exciting experiences awaiting visitors is the chance to see up to 20 species of butterflies – including the spectacular Blue Morpho – up close.

All the species naturally live, mate and feed in the rainforest so visitors will be able to watch them display their natural behaviours as they grow from pupae to fully-grown butterflies.

In the bamboo house in the Rainforest Biome, Eden has set up butterfly incubators so visitors can see chrysalises ready to hatch. For those lucky enough to be there at the right time, there will be the chance to see young butterflies emerging before being released into the Biome.

During school holidays there will be lots of exciting butterfly-themed activities for the whole family, alongside the ever popular den-building experience and family trails to discover the hidden gems of Eden. There will also be a game which takes place around site, highlighting the importance of pollination.

Emma Hogg, Eden’s Site Wide Live Producer, said: “This summer is an incredibly exciting one for Eden. The Rainforest Aerial Walkway and the addition of thousands of beautiful butterflies have transformed the Rainforest Biome, the jewel in our crown.

Den-building returns from July 20.  Using a variety of materials, families will be challenged to build makeshift shelters in the arena in the centre of the Eden Project pit. Visitors will be free to construct any type of den they like but also have the option of taking on the daily den challenge, where they will set a task to build a certain type of den.

For those who are looking for something to do in the evening after a day on the beach, selected summer evenings will also see Eden opening late with live music in the arena and a special gourmet burger bar.

Eden’s horticulturalists have created new plant exhibits around the Rainforest Aerial Walkway, including Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) which is the original ebony, now used in musical instruments and for carving, Red stinkwood (Prunus africana) which has medicinal uses and Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) which is used to tenderise meat and flavour Worcestershire sauce.

In the stage, visitors will be invited to contribute to a giant collaborative artwork, adding handmade butterflies to a giant “swarm”. This spectacular work will take shape over the summer, also starting on July 20.

The important message of pollination will be encapsulated in a frantic game across the Eden site called Be the Bee. Children can assume the role of a bee by making their own costume before taking to the Eden site delivering “pollen” to special plants where they can collect “nectar”.

Once all the plants have been pollinated, the children can exchange their nectar for a prize and gather in the Mediterranean Biome for a honey bee-like “waggle dance”.

Eden’s SkyWire is open throughout the summer and offers thrill-seekers the opportunity to fly headfirst at over the Biomes at up to 60mph. This startling burst of speed makes the SkyWire the fastest as well as the longest zip wire in England.

Entry to the Eden Project costs from £19.50 for adults, £14.50 for concessions and £6.50 for children aged between five and 16 (children under five are admitted for free). With the exception of the SkyWire, all activities are included in the admission price. It costs £10 to upgrade an Eden ticket to include a flight on the SkyWire. A ticket for the SkyWire alone without Eden entry costs £15.

From July 23 and then every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until the end of August, Eden will be open until 8pm and those who enter after 3.30pm on these days are entitled to a discount. On every other day, it closes at 6pm with last entry at 4.30pm. Visitors who allow Eden to treat their entry fee as a donation are entitled to unlimited entry for a year after their first visit. For full prices and opening hours, see www.edenproject.com.