When I was little I used to imagine that my street was a cool watery canal. On hot summer days I would pretend to swim home, and then once home, my house became a rain forest, my bedroom a lagoon.
It seems that I am not the only one with such imaginings of tropical paradise where none such exist. Meet the Tropical Islands Resort, an artificial paradise in the middle of Germany of all places. The numbers alone astound. Housed under an enormous dome originally commissioned for cargo lifters, the roof stands 350 feet tall and encloses 194 million cubic feet of space. The waterpark is 710,000 square feet; the pool can accommodate up to 8,000 visitors a day. (Hopefully nobody pees in the water.) There are restaurants, shopping, tanning, stage entertainment, daycare facilities, bars and overnight camping on Paradise beach. Admission is 18.50 Euro on weekdays, and 23.50 Euro on weekends. The resort is open around the clock, all year round.
The resort also includes a rain forest, beaches, artificial sunlight, palm trees, tropical flowers and foliage complete with a backdrop of birdsong. There is also a “Balinese lagoon” with whirlpools and a waterfall, a “south sea” with an impressively large white sand beach, a tropical village, and a rainforest section with winding walkways.
Along the south side of the dome hang transparent panels, allowing natural sunlight to help brighten the interior during the day. The internal temperature is always kept at a comfortable 77-82 degrees Fahrenheit with 50-60% air humidity year-round, creating a miniature sub-tropical eco-system smack dab in the middle of Germany.Of course those that built this indoor paradise did not just think of aesthetics. About 80% of the resort’s square footage is used for green space. Water from the pools is reclaimed to water the plant life, which grows in a rich, custom-made soil made up of sand, organic waste, clay, and tree bark. The dome’s transparent panels are also UV permeable, exposing the plants to natural sunlight and allowing the building to operate as a giant greenhouse. At times the high humidity causes water condensation to collect on the inside of the dome before finally falling. This produces light, spontaneous rain showers on occasion, adding to the tropicality of the airplane hangar.
Honestly, this is what I imagined as a child walking home on hot summer days, only my ten year old mind could not fathom the enormity of reclaimed water, waterfalls, artificial birdsong under a Balinese lagoon. Even more honest: my 36 year old mind has trouble fathoming it, too. I think this is something I have to see for myself, a Utopian paradise housed under a hangar in Krausnik, Germany.