Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre
Duration: Half Day
A holiday in the Bahamas conjures up images of natural beauty – white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and lush, tropical flora − due to its wonderful location in the Caribbean. This tropical archipelago, which is actually located in the Atlantic Ocean, is a popular destination for tourists, and there are over 700 beautiful islands to discover. This particular tour will take you to the Ardastra Zoo and Gardens in Nassau, the capital and largest city in the Bahamas, where you will see some of the most rare and beautiful native flora and fauna in the region.
Opened to the public in 1937, Ardastra Gardens was the creation of Jamaican horticulturalist Hedley Edwards who wanted to create a luscious tropical garden in the heart of Nassau. In 1982, however, the gardens were bought by Norman Soloman, and the first and only zoo in the Bahamas was born.
Ardastra Zoo and Gardens is home to nearly 300 bird, mammal and reptile species, many of which are listed as endangered in the Caribbean and South America. Providing a vital sanctuary for its creatures, many of the birds, reptiles and animals are able to roam around freely in the beautiful grounds, where they can thrive and breed in an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. Passionate about what they do, the expert staff at the zoo dedicate much of their time and resources to promoting conservation, actively working to ensure the survival of these endangered animals whilst educating their visitors and aiding researchers.
Watch peacocks proudly strutting around the gardens, and fresh water turtles bathing on the shore of the pond. Other creatures you are likely to come across include monkeys, water fowl, parrots, boa constrictors, Madagascar lemurs, jaguars and Lulubelle the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig – many of which wouldn’t have survived without care. Also look out for the trained, world famous Marching Flamingos as they strut their stuff and entertain visitors. You will even get the chance to be photographed with some of these amazing animals.
Wander around Ardastra Gardens and lose yourself in winding trails beneath the forest canopy; past coconut palms, 40ft mahogany trees draped with vines, exotic trees and lush, brightly-coloured flora such as orchids, bromeliads, bougainvillea and hibiscus blossoms. Forever changing, these stunning, tranquil gardens provide constant surprises for visitors to enjoy – whatever the time of year. Bursting with colour and tropical fragrance, they attract an abundance of wild birds – both native and migratory species – including hummingbirds, parrots and kingfishers. Feel at one with nature as you immerse yourselves in the sounds and smells of this stunning nature reserve. This is the perfect tour for wildlife lovers.
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The Bahamas was awarded the title of "Leading Luxury Destination of the Caribbean” at the prestigious World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony 2016. The tropical archipelago nation scooped the award for the second year in a row at the glamorous regional ceremony which was held last month at the Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica.
Following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Sandals Resorts International has announced that the re-opening of Sandals Royal Bahamian will be postponed until 25th October, 2016. The hotel in Nassau was scheduled to open on 14th October, but damage from the hurricane has added extra work. Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma was also damaged and will remain closed until 15th December, 2016.
The failed Baha Bar mega resort in the Bahamas has been given a new lease of life after the Bahamas government and the Export-Import Bank of China recently signed an agreement. The contract states that construction of the resort will be completed and then sold to a "world-class" hotel group. Construction is scheduled to start in September and the new resort could open before the end of the 2016/2017 high season.