Evolution greenhouse: horticultural and educational
A recent and long overdue visit to Kew Gardens (mainly because we couldn't resist the concept of the Treetop Walkway, which was by the way a lot tamer than I was expecting… ) lead me to visit the Evolution House, a greenhouse given over to a film set depicting plant evolution. At the entrance are maps (here's a close-up) tracing the path of plant evolution. You enter in the Precambrian era, surrounded by sloping 'basalt rocks' and glowing hot 'lava' underneath (nice effects!) and bubbling mud puddles (real mud, fun!).
After that, life begins and the rest of the greenhouse walk snakes through a seriously dramatic evolution landscape with dinosaur tracks, towering crazy trees (horsetails, ferns etc.), sheer 'rock' faces, various forest sounds and waterfalls; very entertaining, if a little tight (bit unfair to compress 3500 million years of plant evolution in a such a moderately sized greenhouse…). Luckily, you emerge back in the present era at the other end.
This exhibit is interesting because it is so unlike others at Kew -- the website tells me that it is 'a completely new type of educational-horticultural display concept, involving landscape immersion techniques'. See? Its not a greenhouse but a concept. Ok, I'd like to see a more extensive concept with more mud ponds and live amphibians. Good fun though.