When you think of Barcelona, you’ll probably imagine Gaudí’s modernist architecture, sunny Barceloneta Beach, or the historic Gothic Quarter. Sure, those are amazing cultural highlights, but did you know that there was a little piece of rainforest in Barcelona? It may be a little unexpected, but I’m definitely not kidding. Read on to find out where to visit this indoor forest!
The CosmoCaixa Science Museum: A Rainforest in Barcelona?
Where: The CosmoCaixa Museum in Barcelona
This rainforest in Barcelona is actually hidden at the CosmoCaixa science museum, at the edge of the city. You’ve probably never heard of it, but that’s about to change. I’m personally proclaiming that this museum is a must-see destination for any city trip to Barcelona! Besides, most tourists stick to the historic town center, so it’s never too crowded at the museum. It’s not just educational, but even relaxing to walk around and have a look at the exhibits.
Museum Masterpiece: The Flooded Forest
The absolute masterpiece in the museum is the flooded forest. Why? Well, because this greenhouse-like structure lets you walk around a simulated piece of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The molds of the tall Ceiba trees even came from Brazil. Inside the glass structure live over 100 different animal species, including piranhas and capybaras. To complete the realistic rainforest experience, there are regular showers of heavy rainfall in the Barcelonian jungle.
The flooded forest doubles as an aquarium when you step out of the greenhouse. The glass walls allow you to see all the creatures living under the surface of the water, like alligators and tortoises. On the benches along the glass walls were people making sketches and peacefully watching the fish swimming by. The place really calmed me down. It think it’s one of my favourite spots in Barcelona.
One of the Best Science Museums in Europe
Together with the NEMO museum in Asterdam, CosmoCaixa is definitely the coolest science museum I have ever visited. The 30,000 m² museum features exhibitions and displays about the natural environment, the story of evolution, and space. There are many interactive displays and objects that you can touch and operate, like a sandstorm simulation and plasma globe. The diverse topics range from the big bang, human evolution, animal brains (with real ones on display), chaos theory, and volcanic science.
The History and Architecture of the Building
The building that houses the CosmoCaixa Science Museum was originally built in the early 20th century as an asylum for the blind. After the asylum closed in 1979, the building was renovated and expanded to four times its original size. The museum still has its original facade, but an ultra-modern interior. The massive museum consists of 5 floors, including a spiral walkway, planetarium, and basement.
How to Get to CosmoCaixa in Barcelona
Getting to CosmoCaixa in Barcelona isn’t hard at all. Walking is possible, but it will take quite a while, so I recommend riding public transportation. I personally took the L7 metro line from central Barcelona and got off at Avinguda Tibidabo, the final station. From there, it’s only a short walk up the hill to CosmoCaixa. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can also take bus 17, 22, 58, 73, 75, 60, or 196. Take a look at the helpful public transport map here.
Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
The museum opens at 10 am. I planned my visit to CosmoCaixa in the evening, since the museum only closes at 8 pm! The museum is closed on Mondays. The entrance fee for adults is only €4 and it was WELL worth the money. For comparison purposes: the entrance fee for the Park Guëll monumental zone is €8. Children under the age of 16 can visit for free. A visit to the planetarium only costs €2 extra.
If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, I really recommend a visit to CosmoCaixa. The museum offers fun activities and interesting stories about science, but also incorporates elements you would otherwise find at zoos and aquariums. The place is perfect for kids (like me) and teenagers, but just as interesting for adults with a general interest in science and history. Besides, you’ll be able to tell your friends that you explored a rainforest in Barcelona. Now, that’s a conversation starter!
View the full album on Flickr.