Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Glasshouse is still hot

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, September 10, 2011, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.



















 
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Glasshouse is still hot
A big day out!
RICHARD THOMAS heads to …
Plantasia in Swansea.

WHY?
A superb all weather attraction in the heart of Swansea, Plantasia houses a huge variety of unusual animals and exotic plants, some of which are extinct in the wild. In October Plantasia are holding two special Halloween themed events, Animal Antics: Spooky Animals and Halloween Spooky Night.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ?
The tropical paradise is housed inside a unique glass pyramid and is just bursting with plants and wildlife. The hothouse contains three climate zones: Tropical with a rainforest, Arid and Humid. The collection includes over 5,000 plants ranging from banana plants, giant bamboo, coconuts and collections of ferns and cacti. Along with the plants there are several species of fish, exotic insects and other animals to see. These include piranhas, a bearded dragon, a chameleon, tarantulas, snakes and even tamarin monkeys. In the butterfly house butterflies can be seen flying freely and viewed at various stages of development.
ANY HISTORY?
Plantasia opened in 1990. In recent years the hothouse has been used as a filming location for two Doctor Who episodes, The Doctor's Daughter and Cold Blood.
WHAT TO TAKE?
There is an admission charge into Plantasia of £3.35 for adults and £2.35 for children. Under 3’s visit for free. Family tickets and annual membership are also available. There is no charge, however, to just sit back and relax in their coffee shop or browse through their fantastic gift shop while others enjoy the exotic plants and animals. Afterwards, you can all enjoy a Joe’s ice cream or fresh donates sold in the stores by the Plantasia entrance.
LOOK OUT FOR?
If you visit during the school holidays there’s usually something extra to entertain the children including treasure trails and interactive animal handling shows. In August Plantasia was visited by the hugely popular Rainforest Roadshow hosted by naturalists David Shaw and his wife Sue. At this special event children had the chance to meet scorpions and stick insects, see a genuine blowpipe, and learn how tribal people hunt and what they eat. The Rainforest Roadshow will be returning to Plantasia next year.
In October there are two other holiday events to look forward too at Plantasia. On October 25, 26 and 27 there’s Animal Antics: Spooky Animals, a special talk where young explorers can get hands on with spooky animals like spiders and other creepy crawlies. Then on October 30 and 31 there’s Halloween Spooky Night when Plantasia opens its doors after dark and lets children dressed in Halloween costumes take part in a ghost trail and explore the depths of the hothouse at night! Both of these events are very popular so pre-booking is essential.
WHEN TO GO?
They are open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. Last admissions at 4.15pm.
TELL ME MORE
Plantasia is located in the Parc Tawe retail park. For sat nav users their address and postcode is: Plantasia, Parc Tawe, Swansea, SA1 2AL. To book phone 01792 47455 or for more information visit www.plantasia.org.

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