I’ve left The Core to last because it’ll be the place that probably takes up the least amount of your time at Eden. It’s tempting to say that it wouldn’t matter too much if you missed it out altogether, but that would mean missing something which is at the heart (or core) of the whole Eden Project – education.
Eden likes to describe The Core as its “Education, Arts and Events Hub”, which means that it’s more than just a place where school parties come.
I think it’s fair to say that its primary objective though is to educate our future generations in understanding how important it is for them to look after our planet, and in return it will look after them. That said, we can all learn from this sort of information and I’m full of admiration for the way the building has been put together to show us how things should be done in a sustainable way.
The building covers 3 floors, the most interesting of which is the ground floor. Its centre piece is the imaginative ‘Plant Engine’ which is a large glass ball representing the world’s wild landscapes and how our ecosystem is reliant on things like oxygen and water.
The tallest exhibit is the ‘nutcracker’ and the one which seems to attract the most attention. This fascinating contraption, designed by Rob Higgs, allows people to wind a handle which transports a small hazelnut from the top of the machine, built out of old nautical and industrial bits and pieces, down and around different pulleys and cogwheels to the bottom where the nut gets cracked by a large sledgehammer. The whole concept is meant to make us think about how we often use a sledgehammer to crack a nut – clever stuff.
The other thing not to miss is the ‘Seed’ sculpture. This 70-ton piece of solid granite is carved with 1,800 nodes in the pattern of a ‘Fibonacci spiral’. Even if it doesn’t float your boat as a piece of art, the thought and effort that went into this exhibit will still impress you.
The 1st floor incorporates classrooms and temporary exhibitions, and on the 2nd floor there’s the Core Café which only seems to be open at busy times. If you make it up here you can take the path around to the lift which takes you up to the bridge and back to the Visitor Centre. Alternatively, you can head back through the Outdoor Biome and catch the land Train back up to the top, or if you’ve still got enough energy left, walk back through a different part of the garden.
If you’ve managed to fit everything in you would have done well because the Eden Project isn’t a place that should be rushed through. The important thing to remember is that it’s somewhere that stimulates the mind as much as anything. It’s not about how big it is or how different it wants to be, it’s about showing us how our planet functions and how we can help it – and us – survive.