“ BAMZ, Bermuda. „
A few years ago me and my family went on a cruise, while we docked in Bermuda for the day, we decided to take a day trip visit to Bermuda's Aquarium and Zoo. As we had been on the ship for ten days we wanted to get off and see what the island had to offer.
The whole trip was organised on board the shop, we were picked up and transported to the aquarium and the zoo, and later picked up and returned to the ship ready to set sail again.
ABOUT THE AQUARIUM AND ZOO
This park opened in 1926, offers a close up and personal look at Bermuda's marine life and endangered species.
The aquarium and zoo it one of Bermudas best attractions, well according to the locals. But I cannot really quote this as the best, as it was all that we actually saw of the island.
This aquarium has more than 100.00 visitors a year, and many of Bermudas population are members of the aquarium and zoo. This can be people who work there, have annual passes or even support the animals by adopting them.
The actual park is run by Bermudas government and the zoological society, so all donations and visits help towards helping endangered animals. This in itself makes the visit worthwhile as you feel like you are help to.
When you arrive at the park you enter the main hall, which contains huge tanks that display large moray eels, packs of silver minnows, squid, lobsters, huge groupers, parrot fish and my favourite octopus. Within these huge tanks you can watch and inspect over 200 breeds of fish and invertebrates.
In another section of the aquarium you can see a spectacular 140.000 gallon north rock exhibit, this is the first living coral reef exhibit to be made in the whole world, but this was built in 1996 so you may find others that have been build in this time.
This is the biggest exhibit in the aquarium and takes up a huge portion of the aquarium, I spent hours stood looking at this as I felt like I was in with the fish and species, minus the wet suit and snorkel.
This huge exhibit was made up of two tanks that sat side by side, inside the smaller tank at the front was tiny reef fish swimming among anemones, angelfish, sponges, corals, and sea fans.
This was amazing to watch as they all looked so graceful especially the angle fish, these are by far the prettiest looking fish. Behind this is a larger tank that allows you a floor to ceiling view of sharks, barracuda, and schools of pompano, golden-frilled trigger fish, and a mammoth black grouper.
That larger tank is spectacular especially is you like sea life, it is like a sea life center only a hundred times bigger and better, and to be honest it puts Britain's sea life centers to shame.
Within this aquarium and park, they have recently added a natural history museum, this was opened to the public in 2003, here you can learn about the endangered animals and sea life and how we can help prevent extinction and also they had audio and interactive displays, that help you to understand sea life from years ago to date. The kids loved this as they didn't have to stand and read board and boards of writing, it was all explain though loud speakers. I found this really good as they actually took and interest and learnt a thing of two.
This was the second part of the park and consisted of over 300 birds, mammals, and reptiles, in exhibits that imitate their natural habitat. Each animal enclosure tells you all about each animal and how they live and survive, also explained is the conditions they need to survive in.
All the way around the zoo, there were bright red bricked paths which reminded me of the film the wizard of oz. All of the paths are lined with exotic flowers and plants and there are many seating areas along to way, so you can sit and taking the spectacular scenery.
My favourite exhibit was the Australia exhibit, within this they have created a humid environment with rainforest type plants and trees, and here live kangaroos, parrots, wallabies and huge python snakes. I really hate snakes they scare the life out of me but it was ok, as I didn't get to close. I love watching the kangaroo they are amazing, at the time of our visit they had recently had babies, so it was quite something watching them jump around with the babies in their pouches.
In the middle of the zoo area, they have a large open but fenced lake and grass area, which have many pink flamingos, this is a really nice place to sit and eat of even take five minutes to rest your tired feet.
I have to say this aquarium and zoo caters for adults but also goes out of its way to entertain children, as they have all the interactive displays and exhibits and a discovery room.
I found this discovery room great for the kids as it was air conditioned, so it was good to get out of the heat for a while and cool down, not only that the kids had the chance to watch, learn about, feed and even touch starfish and sea urchins, feed fish, and pick up sea cucumbers, or sea squirts.
Here they also educate the kids on all of the zoo's exhibits teach them about man-made threats to endangered species, and how to help prevent them.
Story telling is also held for children under six, but only on Fridays between 11.15 and 11.45. Here kids can sing songs, play games and interacted with certain animals.
The zoo also has a play playroom that shows them wildlife videos, a Lego zoo, jigsaws, puppets, and live rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters.
Children can also play outside in a huge sand pit, which is filled with buckets and spades. This is where I had trouble as the kids wouldn't leave, I even tried walking away in the hope they would follow, but no they stayed firmly put. I was nice as they made a few little friends there, which were on board our cruise, so we got time to ourselves for the rest of the cruise as they were off playing.
The seal exhibit was also a must see, here you had five long time westerner harbour seals and every day you could watch them feeding at 9am, 1.30pm and the last feed at 4pm.
This it right at the entrance of the park so we watched the 4pm feed, just before we left.
In this exhibit they have 34 year old Archie, he is the oldest surviving seal that is in captivity. I have to say he has one hell of an appetite.
PROJECTS TO HELP ANIMALS
The Bermudas aquarium and zoo, helps animals that are endangered. The main project being the turtle project.
This turtle project has been in place for nearly 30 years, this is designed to help improve the turtle's population, this is done by attaching tags and this then tracks the turtles as they migrate and breed in areas of the Caribbean.
This was they can keep track of the endangered species and see it the population is growing or decreasing.
The zoo also helps monkeys that are near extinction in the Brazilian rain forest, the zoo breeds the monkeys in captivity and when they are strong enough and able to cope on their own they are released back in to the rain forest.
Guided tours of Bermuda Aquarium and zoo are offered at 1:10 p.m. Although this is a good idea I feel you would benefit more if you walk around on your own, as you always seen to get people that want to know everything and you get pushed to the back and can't see a thing that is being talked about.
You can also get a free guided tour which is offered at 1.10pm, if there is anything you would like to know more about in greater detail.
At Bermuda's Aquarium and zoo also has a gift shop, selling eco-friendly items, gifts, souvenirs and toys.
This shop can be a little bit expensive, but buying something to remind you of your visit is a must. Although some of it is cheap tat at very expensive prices we always seem to buy the junk that get chucked in a draw when we return home.
FOOD & REFRESHMENTS
When we got to the park we were a little peckish, so we stopped at a little cafe the peacock's pantry. Here you could buy snacks, light meals and other refreshments.
The cafe was very basic but very clean and catered for all of our needs, and very cheaply indeed.
This little cafe opens at 10.00am and closes at 4.00pm, so we got our dinner and tea here.
The aquarium and zoo park is located at
40 North Shore Rd., Flatts, Bermuda.
Contact numbers tel. 441/293-2727, fax 441/293-3176,
The park site sits opposite Flatts Village on the facing shore of Flatts Inlet, and is located in the picturesque flatts v village of Bermuda and is a popular tourist site.
This Park is open every day of the year except from Christmas day.
9.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. the last admission 4 p.m.
$10.00 dollars admission for adults
$5.00 dollars admission for seniors and children 5-12years old,
FREE ADMISSION for children under 5 years old
This is situated in stunning surroundings, so just for them it is worth a visit.
I loved the fact that there were fish and other animals that is had never seen, let alone heard of before. It opened my eyes to some of the beautiful creatures we have in the ocean.
Overall we had a great day out and the admission price was very cheap, which is always a bonus in my book, the kids had plenty of things to do and we had to drag them away from the park at closing time.
I found the octopus may best attractions, I think these are amazing animals so I was watching them mast of the time.
If you are ever in Bermuda, you must go and see this place it is truly amazing, a really eye opener.
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) was perhaps one of my favourite days out on my recent holiday. I think this was primarily as it offered SO much more than I envisaged it is normally referred to by the Aquarium part only and so I had not anticipated everything that it actually offered.
Nothing in Bermuda is difficult to get to, and several buses pass by the aquarium, which is situated in Flatts Village. If you are travelling by car or moped, then there is a car park across the road.
Entrance to BAMZ costs $10 per adult with $5 concessionary tickets and under fives enter for free. You will be handed a map of the aquarium and grounds for your group, which you are probably going to need if you dont want to miss anything.
Before you even enter BAMZ however, you have an opportunity to view the Green Turtles, as they have a swimming pool area which is accessible directly from the road. These impressive creatures were once prevalent around Bermuda, but were caught for food, oil and their shells and numbers dwindled in fact the species is at risk internationally. Bermuda now has a Green Turtle Project, and there is a much better focus on conservation than there used to be.
The first part of BAMZ that you will enter, once paying your entrance fees, is the aquarium area itself. This consisted of plenty of smaller tank area and two very large tanks at either end of the exhibit room itself. In fact there are over 200 different species contained within the tanks, and some are quite spectacular, including a bright green moray.
Bermuda itself is surrounded by coral reef, the most northerly reef, and like other reefs in the world, conservation is critical. The Aquarium also has live coral among its many exhibits. There is a small educational area consisting of information panels within the aquarium itself.
There is an audio system within the aquarium whereby if you hold the apparatus and the green light is on above the tank you are standing nearby then you will get audio commentary. This didnt quite work as expected as you cannot seem to control the voiceover at the pace you want to walk around, so we quickly abandoned that and gazed at the fish in blissful ignorance instead!
The next part of this three in one attraction is the Natural History Museum, and this was one of my favourites of all the museum exhibits I saw in Bermuda. It would be easy to spend around 45 minutes in this room, despite the fact it is not particularly large. One of the main attractions is a large circular table top presentation which flies in and out, showing the geological formation of the islands over millions of years, highlighting how its unusual shape and surrounding coral reef came to be. The main focus in this room is on the geology and ecology of the island showing how different marine and bird creatures came to be on this island, and there was a very interesting environmental display too, including an interactive display showing how you can calculate your own environmental footprint. Overall I didnt witness a huge amount of green awareness on Bermuda, but where they do quite well is in the area of water conservation. There are no rivers or lakes on Bermuda and all properties store rainwater which is used to feed all water to the property. If you run out therefore, you need to buy more..! More good news was that Bermuda is leading the way with a new tidal power system which comes into effect this year, and could provide up to 10% of energy needs.
Finally there is the outdoor ZOO part of the attraction and there is plenty to look at here. Some of the highlights are the Flamingo area, which contains plenty of these striking birds, which have been bred here for 50 years. I am sure most visitors will be dying to see the Galapagos Tortoises which were introduced into Bermuda over 70 years ago. These are striking creatures but very messy eaters and they absolutely stink! There are plenty of exhibits showing different kinds of colourful birds on the walk down through the zoo area. Two of the major attractions are the Caribbean Island and Australasia Island exhibits, focusing on plants, animals and birds from those regions. Many species in this area are at threat, including the Golden Lion Tamarin, ring tailed lemur, and tree kangaroo, and are all very striking.
There are additional facilities available including a small café area and a shop as well as the discovery cove area which is a childrens play area. In addition the views from the rear of the grounds are absolutely stunning, and there is the opportunity to stop and rest while taking these in.
Overall I think that BAMZ is doing an excellent job in delivering the important messages of conservation and the importance of looking after the environment. I felt the entrance fee represented excellent value for money at $10 as it offers at least 2-3 hours entertainment and perhaps even more for those with children.
The Bermudian Dollar is pegged to the same rate as the US Dollar. See the internet for latest exchange rates for your currency.
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
Flatts Village, Bermuda