The Atocha Train Station in Madrid is not just a transportation hub, it's also home to an indoor botanical garden and turtle sanctuary! Opened in 1992, rows of tropical trees and plants stretch out over 13,000 feet of space beneath the station’s arched roof. Commuters can relax under the leafy palms, or watch the turtle pond while waiting for their next train.
The original station dates to 1851, and it was rebuilt in 1892 after a fire. Sprawling underneath a lengthy skylight, the indoor garden occupies the area that used to house the old train landings prior to Atocha’s expansion.
In neatly manicured beds, a variety of plants tower over visitors, some of them reaching the station’s domed ceiling. Over 7,000 plants live inside the station, and many of them are palm trees. Around 260 different tropical species adorn the garden, and they thrive amidst the hustle of bustle of the commuters passing through to their next destinations.
Paths take visitors through the expansive garden lined with benches to relax under the palms. One end of the garden is a swamp where Malabar chestnut trees thrives in the murky waters. The other end hosts the popular turtle pond, which attracts tourists and commuters alike. Dozens of turtles of all sizes can be seen swimming around, sunning themselves on rocks, and playing in the water. Large goldfish also live in the pond, and are protected by the station’s caretakers. After wandering through the gardens, visitors can experience a birds-eye view while enjoying a light lunch at the station’s mezzanine restaurant.
The Atocha Station garden infuses a lively botanical and animal sanctuary in an unused portion of the train station, bringing a taste of wildlife to one’s daily commute.
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