Earthpark planned for Iowa

Sunday, October 15, 2006

GRINNELL, Iowa -- Central Iowa has been chosen as the site for a massive indoor rain forest and environmental learning center that organizers hope will be as successful as its predecessor in the United Kingdom.

Earthpark will be built on 70 acres of wooded land overlooking Lake Red Rock near Pella and will be modeled after Eden -- a similar project in Cornwall, U.K., that has attracted 8 million visitors annually in its first five years of operation.

Earthpark will feature an indoor rain forest, a 600,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, an exterior prairie and wetland exhibits. The main dome will enclose about four acres and stand more than 150 feet in the air. The park will feature alternative renewable energy systems such as wind and solar power, said David Oman, the project's executive director.

Groundbreaking will begin in 2007 with completion in 2010.

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