Ardastra Gardens Nassau Bahamas

Ardastra Gardens is New Providence Island’s zoological garden. Privately owned, the zoo and tropical gardens are home to a variety of birds and animals, many of them endangered species. You can wander the tiny pathways through the lush tropical undergrowth, where you’ll see the endangered Bahamian parrot, jaguar, assorted monkeys and sloths, raccoons and other nocturnal animals.

Photo of flamingos at Ardastra Gardens

Ardastra Flamingos:

Ardastra is home to a flock of pink flamingos. And these are flamingos with a difference. Ardastra’s are the only trained flock of flamingos in the world, and they perform daily for the public. Their trainer barks orders at a covey of flapping soldiers who line up as if on parade. Then they march back and forth upon command. The birds are happy and having fun. And when the show is over, you’ll be given the opportunity to get out among them. They’ll even pose with you for a photograph or two.

I’ve visited this unique animal park on a number of occasions, and it never fails to delight and entertain. The last time I was there several of the flamingos were egg-sitting and one couple already had tiny, fluffy offspring that could easily be seen on the far side of the flamingo pool. Needless to say, the kids were all intrigued.

Ardastra has instituted a breeding program for the endangered Bahamian parrot. The birds were once so plentiful that Columbus wrote in his log that flocks of this colorful bird darkened the sky. It is now found on only two of the 700 Bahamian islands. With its numbers down below 3,000, it is a rare and endangered species. At the time of writing, three chicks had been born in the park: all three survived and can be seen roosting in the trees along with their mother.

Because of the natural setting, many of the mammals, birds and reptiles are allowed to wander the park at liberty, and it’s not unusual to find a peacock at your feet, proudly strutting its stuff and flouting its feathers.

This 5½-acre escape is only a few minutes drive from downtown Nassau. Alternatively, the #10a bus will take you from downtown Nassau to Arawak Cay, or a taxi will will take you to the zoo for a few dollars. If you are making your own way, the zoo is about four minutes walk from Arawak Cay. Open 9-5, seven days a week. Admission $15/adult, $7:50/children. Phone 242-323-5806, www.ardastra.com, info@ardastra.com.

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Getting There:

For visitors arriving by air, the Bahamas are served through Nassau by most US airlines and by international airlines from Canada and Europe, and to a slightly more limited degree through Freeport.

The Out Islands are served mainly by Bahamas Air via connections in Nassau and Freeport.

The Bahamas is also a major destination for the cruise ship industry

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