As promised, here are the photos from the highlight of the Bahamas trip – the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center! Butch and I went alone, since no one else seemed to have an interest, but it was well worth the hike to get there (we refused to pay a cab for what we considered to be a doable walk). Ardastra is an older zoo (first opened to the public in 1937), but it was in fairly good shape considering, and the natural landscaping and meandering paths gave it a sweet little charm. I took the best photos that I could considering that the cages were of the old-school heavy-gauge-style variety! Highlights (of the highlight) were getting to hand-feed lory parrots and witnessing the “world-famous marching flamingos” (see below).
In the 1950’s the Bahamian government brought flamingos to Ardastra in hopes that they could be bred successfully in captivity (hunting of the time had almost caused an area extinction). The program was a success and in the process it was discovered that the flamingos were easily trained due to their flock mentality. Thus the “marching” flamingo show was born! These shows allowed visitors to get closer to flamingos than ever before, and in 1957, the “Pink Ballerinas” were photographed while performing by National Geographic. Well, of course we had to witness a trained flamingo show for ourselves:
Yup…that was pretty much it. Still worth it though!
And, I swear, my cousins looked at me like I had three heads when I chose visiting a zoo over jet-skiing and lounging on a beach…but that’s just how we roll. Seriously, I always try to visit the local botanic garden, etc wherever we travel. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until looking at an actual map later on that there was a botanic garden completely separate from Ardastra…but after the amount of walking we did, I wouldn’t have had the juice to hit it up anyway. And the “pricey” entry-fee was no big deal – I could tell it was going toward the care of the animals and general upkeep. So if you ever find yourself making a stop in Nassau, I definitely recommend Ardastra!