The Palmengarten botanical gardens were founded by a group of enterprising citizens in the 19th century. A leafy haven in the heart of the city, the gardens are a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The Tropicarium, an ensemble of 14 modern-looking greenhouses, houses a wealth of tropical and subtropical species. Climates around the world are perfectly simulated here, from the lush green rainforests and monsoon forests to the sultry mangroves and dry desert with giant prickly cacti. Not only is the Tropicarium a great place to learn about nature, but it also illustrates what the climate is like in different parts of our planet. Also worth a visit is the Goethe Garden, which pays homage to Frankfurt's most famous son. The great poet and passionate gardener once wrote an ode to the gingko tree, which is still found in great numbers in the park. The pièce de résistance is the 18-metre-high palm house, the oldest and most famous building in the gardens. This iron structure was designed by architect Friedrich Kaysser and built between 1868 and 1869. It was modelled on the enormous glass palaces built in London in 1846 and in Paris in 1867 for the World's Fair. The exotic wonders contained within have lost none of their original appeal. After the artificial rainfall, sit on a wooden bench overlooked by the towering palm trees and listen to the eerie sound of dripping water in the dark, green-tinged and humid air. You'll feel as if you've been transported to another world – until the screech of a cockatoo brings you back to reality. 'Botany for everyone' provides the theme of hundreds of guided tours and lectures. Nearby attractions: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe came into the world in August 1749 in a house on Grosser Hirschgraben. The rooms in which he spent his childhood and youth are now open to the public as the Goethe House. All in all, there are 13 different museums on the two sides of the river Main in Frankfurt. In summer, people flock to this 'museum embankment' to stroll by the water or to sit and enjoy a coffee.
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