Bermuda - Nature and Scientific Wonders | Travel | Smithsonian

Bermuda - Nature and Scientific Wonders

Bermuda - Nature and Scientific Wonders

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The waters around Bermuda are wonders in themselves, with their ever-changing shades and intensities of blue. Beneath them, the island is ringed with 20 square miles of coral reef that affords excellent shallow, tropical, and reef diving opportunities.

On island, arguably the most famous natural attractions are the Crystal Caves. Set 120-feet underground, this cave system features a floating pontoon bridge over a 55-foot deep lake of clear water surrounded by dramatic stalagmites, stalactites and helectites.

Above ground, Bermuda is home to several parks and nature reserves. The 36-acre Botanical Gardens includes a wide variety of flora including a native palmetto tree garden; greenhouses with orchids, bromeliads and a miniature forest; and a garden for the blind. Visitors here may also tour Camden House, the official residence of Bermuda's Premier. The 22-acre Arboretum, near the city of Hamilton, displays Bermuda's various species of trees in a picturesque series of open meadows, complete with an ornamental bridge and gazebo.

The 25-acre Paget Marsh and Boardwalk showcases Bermudian wildlife as it was 300 years ago and is administered jointly by the Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust. The reserve is accessed via a boardwalk that runs through it. The Spittal Pond Nature Reserve is a 64-acre wetland habitat along Bermuda's south shore that is home to Spanish Rock. The rock, on which "RP 1543" is thought to have been carved by Portuguese sailors who wrecked on the reef in that year, is considered to be the oldest evidence of human life on the island. Spittal Pond also serves as a habitat to many species of migratory birds. Indeed, Bermuda is rife with opportunities for bird-watchers, including Hog Bay Park, the Somerset Long Bay Park and Nature Reserve and the five-acre Gilbert Nature Reserve. The reserve also contains some of the few remaining mature cedars in Bermuda. Birders will also want to visit the Walsingham Nature Reserve, which is also home to many seawater-filled caves.

Finally, Dolphin Quest offers interactive encounters with bottlenose dolphins in pools tucked within the Bermuda Maritime Museum at the Keep in the Royal Navy Dockyard.

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