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The various biosphere buildings are impressive to see. It's a bigger spread than you might think, multiple buildings.
Closest available address
32540 S Biosphere Rd Tucson, Arizona 85739
Facility is open daily from 9:00-4:00. Tours are offered from 9:30-4:00.
Best time to visit
Biosphere 2 is a science facility and museum that was built to demonstrate self-contained environments and living systems. It is owned by the University of Arizona and is managed for public visits and science experiments. The main facility is 3.1 acres and was completed in 1991.
Biosphere 2 was developed by John Allen and was principally funded by Ed Bass. Both Allen and Bass had an interest in the environment and sustainable living concepts. The Biosphere 2 project began in the early 1980s, when land was acquired and plans were developed. Total costs for the project are reported at $200 million. The building included multiple environments, such as a tropical rainforest, ocean, grassland, and desert. It also had living quarters for the resident “Biospherians.” There were extensive climate controls as well since it was a sealed system. The project was controversial at the time and remains so today. It was panned by critics as a publicity stunt rather than true science. Also, during the two years in which the researchers lived in the sealed facility allegations were raised about food deliveries as some crops grew poorly.
The various buildings here and especially the main greenhouse have a futuristic appearance, almost like a human settlement on another planet. It's worth spending a few minutes walking around the periphery to better appreciate the place. After a brief movie about the concept and design of the facility and of the Biospherians, a guided tour visited the primary ecological areas, such as ocean, desert and wetland. There was general commentary about the ecosystems but it was not particularly insightful or memorable. More interesting was the air exchange room that helped equalize pressure inside the greenhouse. However, the crew’s living quarters were barely discussed. These areas could be seen after the tour but little was accessible. A basement room with panels to look at the fish in the ocean ecosystem also could be visited on one’s own. As a tourist attraction, Biosphere 2 was disappointing which is unfortunate because it has the potential to be a really dynamic site given the distinctiveness of the concept and design. The tour though was formulaic and dull and had a steep $20 price.
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3/20/2013 10:26:15 PM
Bummer that it was disappointing, it is such an interesting concept.
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