We drove about 40 miles north of downtown Tucson on State Highway 77 near Oracle to get to Biosphere 2. This is a 3.15-acre (12,700 m2) structure originally built to be a man-made, materially-closed ecological system in Oracle, Arizona by Space Biosphere Ventures - a project costing somewhere over 200 million dollars...the entrance fee though is about $20 but sometimes, you can find clippings that give you a significant discount. I think we found one through the Tucson magazine which gave us $5 off.
The facility was used to explore the complex web of interactions within life systems in a structure that included five areas based on natural biomes and an agricultural area and human living/working space to study the interactions between humans, farming and technologies with the rest of nature. So, inside you do see the Amazon Raining Forest, the mangroves of Florida and then even the desert (which was already outside the complex anyways).
But before this place used to be airtight and there people shutr in for months in the eraly 1990's (1994 being the latest) - but now the complex is exposed to air.Biospehere scientists explored the possible use of closed biospheres in space colonization, and allowed the study and manipulation of a biosphere without harming Earth's.
Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last tour at 3PM) daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
Tour cost: $20 for adults, $10 for seniors, military and AAA members, $13 for children ages 6 to 12, free for those 5 and younger.
32540 S Biosphere Rd, Oracle - (520) 838-6100
Directions: 10 exit 240. East on Tangerine Rd for 13.5 miles, then north on Hwy 77 for 14.5 miles, then right onto Biosphere Rd for 2.5 miles. The gate across the road closes at 4 PM.
Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 Center: This $200 million facility, the world’s largest man-made controllable environment, has been visited by nearly a million and a half people from all over the world since opening in 1991. It features tours daily including the Biosphere Theatre, Demonstration Labs, Human Habitat, Climate & Earth exhibit, Ocean Viewing Gallery, Restaurants and Gift Shops. It also has conference facilities and guest suites overlooking the Sonoran Desert and Santa Catalina Mountains. Inquire about special summer rates that include dinner and breakfast for two. Thirty minutes north of Tucson. Take highway 77 to Mile Marker 96.5. Call (520) 896-6200 for information.
BIOSPHERE 2 CENTER DIAGRAM
Mile Marker 96.5 State Highway 77 - 30 minute drive
Find much more information on the
Main Research Entry Page
Put on your walking shoes and when you finish this tour go see Lucy at Tips and Toes in the Desert Trend Salon for a pedicure, 5447 East Pima, you'll be glad you did!
BIOSPHERE 2 CENTERBiosphere 2 covers 3.15 acres, it is 91 feet tall at it's highest point. It is sealed off from Earth below by a 500-ton welded stainless steel liner. The water, air and soil are constantly monitored. The 25 foot ocean holds a million gallons of salt water.
Biosphere 2 contains five biomes -
a rainforest, desert, savanna, marsh and ocean. (A biome is a self-sustaining community of living organisms.) Biosphere 2 was created to better understand Biosphere 1 - Earth. It is open for public tours now and features exhibits such as the Climate change and Life on Earth exhibition.