It is now more affordable for Cayman Islands residents to visit North Side’s Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
The Tourism Attraction Board introduced the new admission rates to both Pedro St. James and the Botanic Park on May 1. The new reduced resident rates are $5 per adult, with free admission for children 12 years and under and seniors 60 years and over. Residents must present a valid Cayman ID.
“We are very pleased to introduce the new reduced resident rate and believe that our community will appreciate it,” said Tourism Attraction Board Financial Controller and Acting CEO Patrick Thompson.
The Tourism Attraction Board was established in 1996 under the Tourism Attraction Board Law and is responsible for overseeing the management and maintenance of the Pedro St. James national historic site, Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Pirates Week national festival, the Cayman Craft Market and the Hell geological site.
“Pedro St. James, the birthplace of democracy, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, which showcases the islands’ diverse flora and fauna, are very special to us all,” Mr. Thompson said. “These sites play a crucial role in ensuring the history and heritage of the Cayman Islands remain alive in our culture today. We want the community to be a part of our attractions as much as possible, and feel this is a great place to start.”
Regular admission rates will be raised slightly to $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 6-12, and free for children aged 0-5.
Rates for guided tours, which are offered daily at Pedro and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the Botanic Park are $15 for adults, $5 for children aged 6-12 years and free for children aged 0-5 years.
“The increase in regular admission rates was necessary in order to counter the effects of inflation over the years,” said Mr. Thompson.
“Admission rates were last increased 10 years ago, so this increase is much needed for the attractions.”
Attraction Board marketing coordinator Shayma Hamdi-Romanica said the reason for introducing the lower resident rates is twofold.
“First of all, by lowering the rates for residents, we are hoping to encourage the local community to visit these national attractions more often, and have a bigger role to play in their development and preservation,” she said.
“We want the community to spend more time there, and work with the Board to enhance our heritage products for the better of the community.”
She said the Board would love to see older members of society frequent Pedro and the park to simply enjoy the surroundings.
“The attractions are truly beautiful locations, and nothing else quite exists in Cayman that resembles their history, heritage and grandeur,” she said.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park truly is a sanctuary. If you just sit in one place and observe quietly for five minutes, you will be amazed at how much wildlife you will see.”
The park is a protected haven for endangered wildlife species and home to the rare ghost orchid, Cayman’s national flower the banana orchid, national bird the green parrot, the endangered blue iguana and many endemic butterfly species.
“The Color Garden is perfect for a picnic, and so is the pond where you can watch the West Indies Whistling Ducks. There are chairs and shade in the gazebo, as well as picnic tables and shade by the pond, and we would love to see our senior citizens come and enjoy the beauty here that holds silence, solitude and serenity,” Ms. Hamdi-Romanica continued, proposing visitors bring a book to read, or organize a small afternoon tea.
She noted the park’s Heritage Garden, featuring a variety of fruit trees, ground provisions and a Caymanian cottage, is also a great way to explore days of old in Cayman. The adjacent Medicinal Patch offers examples of the traditional herbs and other plants used to cure ailments in days gone by.
The park is also stepping up its efforts to cater to Cayman’s youngest residents.
“Our manager at the Park, John Lawrus, is working hard to create a Children’s Garden that will offer educational and play areas, and to encourage children to be more involved with nature,” she continued.
“The more the community are involved, the more value our attractions have,” said Ms. Hamdi-Romanica.
She said the second reason for adjusting the rates builds on the first, in that the Tourism Attraction Board’s goal is to promote and preserve Cayman heritage.
“The small increase in regular admission rates will ensure that the attractions can survive in today’s economy,” she said.
“The admission cost is still very small compared to other similar attractions, but we are happy with this small change, and hope it will help us to efficiently maintain our national treasures.”
Both attractions are available for weddings and private events.