The Living Rainforest

Monday 13th March 2017 Living Rainforest

On Tuesday, we Y7s scrambled onto the coach as we were going to The Living Rainforest in Reading. An hour’s ride from school, we hauled ourselves out off the coach. My first thoughts were what are we doing here? The place looked to be a fake kind of rainforest, with just bamboo bushes around the entrance.

In the waiting area, whilst the teachers got us organised into four groups, I sat thinking this is not going to be fun. There was nothing around me which inspired me. There were several other schools and the whole place was vibrating with noise and children and moving bodies.  We all were handed out work packs, which had a mind map which we had to complete, and a word search. We busied ourselves completing the work packs and I waited for my group to go into the Living Rainforest. The foyer was modern and clean, with a small gift shop.

“Miss Mitchell’s group please come forward!”  Ah that’s my group. As I walked through into The Living Rainforest, my mind was boggled. Wow! The heat, and humidity was high, green everywhere.  I was in a greenhouse. A huge green house. Serene, calm, with fig trees, and large plants everywhere. Tropical! My senses awoke. It almost felt like I was in the rainforest of the Gold Coast, Australia. My negative thoughts blew away as I ventured through the maze of trees and bushes.

I walked around looking at the different trees, one pathway, meandering, ended with me entering another very hot and humid, high greenhouse.Pathways split in different directions; at every corner I saw something new: a bird, a snake, a tortoise. It was noisy than the first greenhouse, birds and animals making noise, and whispering children too. I was totally intrigued by the small, black mischievous monkeys, here in Reading, jumping and squealing around the trees in the enclosure.  Moving on, I was captured by the sight of giant silvery fish swimming in an enormous fish tank with sting rays. I was mesmerised by the tranquil, elegant sting rays, swimming below the fish and the dead tree branches. I came to a large pond – it was such a beautiful sight with plants, reeds and lilies and tiny fish lazily swimming in the depths. Soon, though, my stomach was rumbling and having found my group, we set out to lunch. We ate in playground, outside the greenhouses and before long we all ended up playing in the playground.

Later, we were called in for a tour. We went through both the greenhouses again, but this time with an amazing guide. She pointed out the different shapes of leaves, and trees.  Did you know that there are leaves which have hairs? The hairs allow the water to form beads and roll off the leaf. And some have drip tips, which allow the water to run off the leaf, and some have holes, to let light and water underneath them! The guide pointed to snakes and talked about how they catch their prey by using heat sensors around their mouth. The guide introduced us to Harry the armadillo, a sloth who is all alone, a monitor lizard and so many other animals which I hadn’t noticed earlier.

It was time to go, and I hadn’t finished! I hadn’t finished looking at everything this Living Rainforest had to show. As some of the children trotted off to the gift shop, I found myself thinking, wow, what a place.  Thanks to Mr Palmer, Mr Bridge, Mr Hooper, Ms Mitchell, Mr Lomberg and Miss Hussain for a wonderful experience. First impressions are always misleading!

Kaash, Year 7