Some call this a marine park, others a living museum, and still others a zoo. Caymanians call it the Turtle Farm, and you can see why they love their turtles and are devoted to their conservation. Turtles are large, enchanting creatures and it's fascinating to see them so close, in the many ponds of young turtles at different stages of development. They live up to 150 years, and can reach weights of up to 600 pounds on a diet of sea grasses. Visitors are allowed to handle yearlings at the Touch Tanks, and children can also wade in a pool with small ones; the adult turtles crowd together for the feedings which take place three times a day. Staff will show you how to hold a young turtle by the shell with both hands and rub under its neck with your fingers at the same time.
Over the years this unique park has added meandering garden trails and exhibits about Cayman heritage, wildlife and island ecosystems. The educational center is state of the art and explains the history of the farm's hatchery and release programs. You can also swim in Breaker's Lagoon, under its cascading falls, and snorkel in the saltwater Boatswain’s Lagoon, which meanders through the property and contains a rich sampling of coastal sea life. At Predator Reef, you’ll see barracudas, tarpons, and grey sharks that glide ominously on the prowl. You can sit on the beach in a lounge chair and have lunch at Schooner's Bar and Grill overlooking the lagoon and Peacock Island. Walk into the noisy excitement of the aviary where birds from all over the Caribbean fly overhead.
Cayman cultural and social life is also part of this "farm." Cayman Street, a street with replicas of Caymanian wooden houses—complete with the "caboose," an outdoor kitchen—features musicians, storytellers, artisans, and weavers. Check for special programs happening during your visit.