If you’re a green parent intent on teaching your child about the importance of caring for our environment, an EcoSphere is a great way to put the world in his or her hands. A “tiny working model of the Earth,” each EcoSphere “contains the same essential elements that are found on our planet: air, water, life and land.” Each beautiful, self-contained sphere contains algae and tiny shrimp that you can watch swimming around. Not only are EcoSpheres wonders of science, the design, which incorporates NASA technology, is aesthetically pleasing and fits into most any décor.

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The Original EcoSphere® is the world’s first totally enclosed ecosystem – a complete, self-contained and self-sustaining miniature world encased in glass.” Each glass globe comes with two shrimp (the size of extra-large Sea Monkeys), algae, filtered sea water and a sprig of gorgonian (the non-living, branch like material) hermetically sealed inside. The shrimp eat whatever they can find in the EcoSphere… which turns out to be a lot. “If you watch them closely, you will see them feeding on the algae and picking bacteria off the walls of the sphere. They also eat their own shed exoskeletons. Nothing goes to waste!”

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The EcoSphere embodies the dream of every eco-conscious parent: It is the perfect ecological environment – only in a miniature size. It is a safe zone that is protected, free of harmful pollutants, and in which flora and fauna exist in perfect carbon balance. EcoSpheres can also be viewed as the perfect solution for parents fighting the pets-vs-no-pets battle. The ‘pets’ included are zero maintenance (no feeding, walking, shedding, neutering), and fit snugly into any living situation. There’s only one problem… on sight my young son wanted to shake the dickens out of the EcoSphere – he thought it was a snow globe.

+ EcoSpheres start at $79

+The Original EcoSphere (as seen at the AMNH Hall of Planet Earth)