Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 is an Earth systems science research facility owned by the University of Arizona. Its current mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. With a size comparable to two and a half football fields, it remains the largest closed system ever created.

Biosphere 2 is located north of Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It sits on a ridge at an elevation of nearly 4000 feet and is surrounded by a natural desert preserve. Time Life Books recently named Biosphere 2 one of the 50 must see “Wonders of the World”.

Biosphere 2 had two closure experiments, Missions 1 and 2. The first, with a crew of eight people, ran for two years from 1991 to 1993. Following a six month transition period during which researchers entered the facility through airlock doors and conducted research and system engineering improvements, a second closure with a crew of seven people was conducted March 1994 – September 1994. In the course of that second mission, a dispute over management of the financial aspects of the project caused the on-site management to be locked out, and the mission itself to be ended prematurely.

Visitors from around the world come here to see this unique adventure not found anywhere else. At Biosphere 2 you will discover real-time research on the future of our planet as it unfolds in the specially designed mini-world. The visitor center houses exhibits and multi-media displays along with a Bookstore and Cafe. You won’t want to miss the new feature movie showing in the main theater. It describes the past, present and future of the project.

Your entry into the Biosphere is led by a tour guide who takes you inside and under the glass. The beautiful trail system takes you on a once in a lifetime tour that lets you smell it’s ocean and see a tropical Rainforest up close. In addition to escorting you through the upper Biomes, your interpretive tour guide takes you through the basement “technosphere” and into the amazing lungs that help the Biosphere system breathe.

Your tour will conclude in the custom-built underwater ocean viewing gallery where you can explore the million-gallon ocean and its real coral reef. Before or after your tour, take time to enjoy the many different programs or events that are offered throughout the season.

The under-the-glass walking tour of Biosphere 2 consists of approximately 150 stairs (up and down) and the route is just under one mile to walk round-trip. The tour duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes with a considerable amount of standing. The tour has an additional 10 minutes of travel time to and from the Visitor Center.

Click here for more information on this one of a kind wonder.