Tropical Islands Resort is an artificial tropical resort located about 60 kilometers south of Berlin and is housed within the largest free-standing dome in the world. This massive airplane-hanger-like structure is 360 meters long, 210 meters wide, 107 meters high, and is supported by 14,000 tons of steel. It is large enough to host 8 entire soccer fields. Even the New York Statue of Liberty (93 meters) could stand upright in it, and the Paris Eiffel Tower (322 meters) could lie in it. The Dome offers enough space for the skyline of Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz including the Sony Centre, the gatehouse and the Daimler Chrysler skyscraper.
At 5.5 million m³, it is one of the largest buildings on Earth by volume, and is the world’s largest single hall without supporting pillars inside. The structure was commissioned as an airship hangar in November 2000, but the airship it was intended to house – the CL160 – was never built. The company went bankrupt in mid-2002. Two years later, Tropical Islands Resort was opened.
Inside the dome is the world’s largest indoor rainforest with 30,000 trees, bushes and groundcover. There are carnivorous plants, banana trees, coffee bushes, jungle creepers and other exotic plants. A kilometre-long path winds through the forest and a bridge over the mangrove swamp gives great views. The windows on one side of the dome are transparent, allowing real sunshine to come in and nourish over 500 species of plants.
Guests can lie on the 200 meter-long man-made beach, swim in the an artificial sea and enjoy warm 26 degrees Celsius weather all year round. The tropical sea is lined with sandy beaches and dotted with small tropical islands decorated with grass huts. Against the grey hangar wall is a backdrop of a blue sky with a few clouds.
Surrounding the pools are re-creations of famous architectural wonders from Asia like Angkor Wat, the Balinese Temple Gate, a longhouse from Borneo, and a traditional Thai house. Ponds and canals wind their way around various activity sites, and large Buddha statues are everywhere.
The complex is open year round, 24 hours a day, with a multitude of attractions to keep you busy. There is a swimming pool, large enough to accommodate up to 8,000 visitors a day, a 25 meter water slide, mini-golf course, restaurants serving gourmet meals, shopping pavilion, bars, daycares, and even overnight camping on Paradise beach.
Tropical paradise even has some environmentally-conscious features, such as recycled water from the swimming pools is used to waters the plant life found inside, which itself grows from custom-made soil made of sand, organic waste, clay, and tree bark. Natural UV light is also able to permeate through the dome and give plants access to sunlight and warmth. And because of the humidity found within, water condensation periodically gathers inside the dome, which then falls back down producing spontaneous rain showers, further adding to the resorts tropical climate.
The resort is located in the municipality of Krausnick, in Brandenburg, Germany, about 60 km south-southeast of Berlin and an hour’s drive away.