Rainforest Cafe

The Rainforest Cafe is a jungle-themed restaurant chain, first opened in the Mall of America in February 1994. The first international location opened in London in June 1997. In 2000, the chain was bought by Landry’s Restaurants Inc., a company specializing in dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming, which is based in Houston. Today, the company owns 23 restaurants throughout the U.S., Canada, France, Japan, the U.K., and the U.A.E. Another three dozen former locations have also previously closed.

Each restaurant is designed to depict some features of a tropical rainforest, including trees and plants, mist,  waterfalls, and wild animals, which can include: elephants, gorillas, tigers, leopards, hippos, orangutans, chimpanzees, lemurs, pandas, snakes, crocodiles, frogs, iguanas, butterflies, and a variety of tropical birds and/or fish. They also feature simulations of natural events, such as thunderstorms or an erupting volcano, and can even feature the appearance of ancient jungle ruins, such as Palenque. Most of the locations include a bar, located underneath an enormous mushroom and with characteristic bar stools made to resemble the legs of animals. There is also usually a “star ceiling” in the middle of the restaurant. At the Galveston location, there is even a “dark ride” into an adjacent building, which takes guests on a circular river raft ride down the rivers of various rainforests of the world, in the style of Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” ride, culminating in a journey through a treasure-filled Hindu temple featuring an angry 6-armed “river god”.

In the restaurant gift shops, which sell a variety of rainforest-themed merchandise, a talking tree may even entertain shoppers.

  • Dined: 1994 (Mall of America)

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