{Germany} A Tropical Rainforest on our Doorstep

August 7, 2014


I’ve been feeling a bit like the worst mum in the world recently because #MuseumBaby is the only kid in his nursery not having a summer holiday since I only recently started my new job and couldn’t take time off so soon. But this week my parents are visiting and we’ve kept him home for the week so he can go on some fun excursions with Oma and Opa.

biosphaere potsdam eingang

Earlier this week, I managed to take a day off work and join them on a day trip to the neighbouring state of Brandenburg, for a visit to the ‘Biosphäre Potsdam’ – an indoor tropical rainforest complete with a waterfall, a geyser which you can make to erupt at your whim, over 20,000 plants – from bamboo to vanilla (many of which you can smell at various interactive stations) –  and  many exotic animals.

biosphaere potsdam waterfall

biosphaere potsdam geysir

biosphaere potsdam smelling station

While the arachnids and insects, reptiles and amphibians are safely behind glass in their terrariums, many of the colourful birds fly around the tropical hall and you will find fish and turtles swimming in the water.

biosphaere potsdam iguana

biosphaere potsdam bird

biosphaere potsdam turtle

If you step in to the butterfly house you are surrounded by over 20 different types of butterflies fluttering around you. #MuseumBaby didn’t really enjoy this – all that fluttering around his head freaked him out a bit – but other kids there were delighted and it was also one of my favourite parts of the day.

biosphaere potsdam black white butterfly

biosphaere potsdam brown yellow butterfly

biosphaere potsdam butterfly cocoons

The special exhibition for 2014 – Aquasphere – is all about the year of the sea. We left the jungle trail and stepped in to a replica submarine, where we could call out to the deep sea echo, try on a diving bell, peer through a periscope and ‘steer’ the submarine. Through round windows, tanks full of brightly coloured tropical fish and anemones gave the impression that we really were travelling under the sea in a submarine.

biosphaere potsdam submarine

biosphaere potsdam aquarium

After leaving the submarine, we stopped for a rest at the ‘Tropencamp’ Café. This was about 90 minutes through our visit – having gotten there at 11am, this meant we reached the café just in time for lunch. As a bonus, anyone over 60 gets a free coffee and cake on Mondays, so that was Oma and Opa taken care of! The Café is surrounded by yet more tropical plants and ponds full of fish, and the prices were fairly reasonable. It is also the perfect location for watching the hourly tropical storm complete with thunder, lightning and rain.

biosphaere potsdam bamboo

biosphaere potsdam flower

From there, we took the treetop trail and doubled back across the jungle below to the airship at the end of the exhibition, which is basically a flyover video from the Biosphere to the rainforest and back again, but you sit in a room that’s made to look like the interior of an airship, with moving seats and the creaking sound of ropes. The airship viewing is also hourly, at half past, and if you’ve been to watch the rainstorm on the hour it gives you just the right amount of time to get from one to the other.

biosphaere potsdam balloon ride

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It was a bit pricey (11.50 Euro for adults with concessions available for children), but we stayed for a good three hours and #MuseumBaby is still talking about it days later – apparently his favourite bits were the turtles, and making Opa jump when we set of the geysir. Because it was the summer holidays, there was also a special activity trail you could do throughout your visit, and although we had to help a little, #MuseumBaby was very pleased to collect a certificate and lollipop for his efforts at the end of it.

biosphaere potsdam tiger

Potsdam is about an hour away from central Berlin. We went by car, but you can also reach it by public transport. It’s open all year round, and you can find details on opening times, admission prices and directions on how to get there, in English on their website.



  1. Further Afield: A day-trip to the Biosphäre Potsdam | My blog - October 20, 2014

    […] Since we had a car at our disposal, we decided to check out the ‘Biosphäre Potsdam’ – an indoor tropical rain forest in the neighbouring city in Brandenburg. We stayed for a good three hours and had an absolutely wonderful time. You can find a full review, alongside more photos, over on Museum Diary. […]

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