Take a Tour of the Climatron®!
"That experience is immersion, sensory abandon, submission to an almost primeval overload of plants, smells, and humidity… fantasy of what nature might once have been, a sensual engulfment…"
The Climatron is a taste of the tropical rainforest. Immediately upon entering, the sights and smells, even sounds, of a radically different environment engulf you. The path winds through the varied landscape of the Climatron, taking you under waterfalls, past exhibits, and close to the plants of the rainforest. You may be fortunate to spot some animal life on your tour. The birds you see may be saffron finches, silver-beaked tanagers, or Barbary doves. There are also anoles and nocturnal geckos, but they keep their own schedules and are not often seen.
Just inside the glass doors of the Climatron, the path starts inside a replica of a native hut made of palm leaves. The hut is an example of the houses of people who inhabit the rainforest.
Past the entry pool, look up to the right to see large pleated palm leaves. These belong to the double coconut, or coco-de-mer, which has the largest seed in the world. The giant seed looks like two coconuts fused together. Extremely rare in cultivation, this endangered species is native to only a few islands off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. View a double coconut in the gecko display in the Brookings Center annex.
Passion flower vine
Look to the left of the path at the passiflora vines curling up the wall. Note the tiny bright orange structures at the bases of the leaves. They imitate butterfly eggs, so that butterflies looking for a place to lay their eggs will think the vine is already occupied.
Old man palm
You can see this fan palm with its fiber-covered trunk resembling a scraggly long beard on your right as the path begins to curve.
Buttress tree exhibit
Near the south side door is the buttress tree exhibit. Many tropical trees develop thin, plank-like projections at their bases to help extend their roots broadly. The hollows that can form between the tree's fins are often home to a variety of animals. You can even crawl into the hollow of this tree.
Walk past the buttress tree toward the south door, then take a right along the path that follows the wall. Exhibits here show how some plants have adapted to be homes for ants. Examples of ant plants are Myrmecodia and Dischidia.