The 10 hectare university botanic garden is set amongst beautiful mature woodlands on the southern outskirts of Durham City. It has been on the site since 1970. It was created primarily for teaching and research. As the garden matured a visitor centre was built and was opened in 1988 by Dame Margot Fonteyn, the Chancellor of the University at the time, to accommodate the 6000 annual visitors. The garden now attracts over 80,000 visitors annually. The Botanic Gardens houses plant collections from around the world, including China, Japan, North America, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile, as well as a woodland garden, alpine garden and bamboo grove. A magnificent monkey puzzle tree dominates the centre of the garden. Contained in the glasshouses are collections of tropical rainforest plants (including the giant Amazonian water lily, Victoria amazonica), desert plants, and more familiar plants from the Mediterranean. There are also some tropical bugs, stick insects, scorpions and tarantulas. Occasionally, during the summer months a selection of tropical butterflies may be seen.