New interactive visitor experience launched at Ness

Ness interactive

Visitors using the interactive exhibit

Ness Botanic Gardens has launched a new interactive platform to enhance its visitor experience.

The Microsoft Surface tool will enable visitors to interact with the gardens through a high-end graphics display. Ness is the first botanical garden in the world to introduce the new development platform which will feature its rich 150 year history and Chinese plant collection.

It was used at the World Expo in Shanghai last year to showcase the collections at Ness. The Expo is held in a different country every five years and is used by businesses and organisations to forge new relationships in the world’s emerging markets. The Expo gave Ness the opportunity to showcase its Chinese plant collection on the global stage as part of a North West higher education collective, led by the University of Liverpool.

The exhibit is now freely available at the Ness Visitor Centre and will form part of an education programme for local schools.

Director of Ness Botanic Gardens, Kevin Reid, said: “It is vital to use the latest technology to encourage the next generation to see plants and botanic gardens as relevant to them. We’re very excited about this interactive platform which we hope will enable visitors and schools to see the gardens – particularly our Chinese plant collection – in a new and different way.”

Ness Gardens has a rich history and connection to China starting with the gardens’ founder, Arthur Kilpin Bulley who believed that Himalayan and Chinese mountain plants in particular, could be established in Britain. He commissioned two explorers, George Forrest and Frank Kingdom-Ward, to find rare plants and bring them back to Ness Gardens. Over a period of 28 years more than 30,000 plant specimens, including a unique collection of Rhododendrons, found their way to Ness Gardens.

Ness is open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Opening times are:

1 February – 31 October 10am – 5pm

1 November – 31 January 10am – 4.30pm

Admission costs £6.50 for adults and £3 for children. Entry for University staff and students is free upon presentation of a staff or student card.

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