Since most of the Islands’ undisturbed forest is difficult
to traverse, the Woodland Trail was built to allow Park patrons
an opportunity to get inside the natural landscape. The
trail is four-fifths of a mile long and can be comfortably walked.
Care was spent mapping the site and the trail to ensure that it
passes through unusual or significant habitats such as that of
the very rare native Cockspur
tree / Erythrina velutina or a
stand of Bull Thatch palms
/ Thrinax radiata. The trail
goes through swampy areas, dry areas, and some areas that have
enough soil for larger trees such as Mahogany
/ Swietenia mahagoni to develop lofty canopies.
The land encompassed by the Woodland Trail makes up approximately
forty acres, and is estimated to contain more than fifty percent
of The Native Flora of the Cayman Islands.
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1 - Queen Elizabeth II Monument
The monument stone is from a local quarry; note fossil shell embedded
in the rock. Behind the rock is a stand of Silver Thatch palm,
the Park’s logo tree.
2 - Visitor Center and Gift
Shop Where you will find the Gift Shop, Public restrooms,
the Admission Desk, The Administrative Offices and Classrooms
3 - Woodland Trail Entrance
Located directly behind the Visitor Center, this trail offers
an opportunity to view Grand Cayman's Woodland interior through
a loop pathway that is almost a mile long.
4 - Orchids
Board Walk - Epiphyte Woodland A 600' long raised boardwalk
over a seasonally flooding woodland where the humidity level is
ideal for epiphytes, Orchids
and bromeliads. The best time of year to view their full glory
is from April to June.
5 - Smokewood Ponds This is a network of sinkholes where
the habitat changes dramatically from the Dry to Rainy seasons.
It is the habitat in which the Smokewood
tree / Erythroxylum aureolatum thrives.
6 - Xeriphytic Garden
- Cactus Garden Moving into a drier, rockier environment,
the flora changes to display large Century Plants (Agave)
and cacti. This new garden exhibit plants from different geographic
regions of the world that posses Xeriphytic qualities or a low
supplemental water requirement.
7 - Heritage Garden
is intended to showcase the plants that played an important
role in Cayman’s history. The displays include grounds,
or areas where
root crops and vegetables would be cultivated such as the Silver
Thatch Palm / Coccothrinax proctorii; and the medicinal
garden with the types of plants Caymanians used to treat various
ailments. In the heritage vein, an old Caymanian house, circa
1900, owned by Julius Rankine from East End, Grand Cayman, was
brought to the Park and restored, and a sand garden was developed
around the house showing the traditional ornamental plants of
that setting. There is also a collection of the traditional
fruit trees like Myrcianthes
fragrans a member of the Myrtle family and is locally
known as "Cherry" Birds eat the bright red fruit.
8 - Floral Garden
You will walk a meandering path of changing colours from sunny
to and shades at any time of the year. You will also encounter
all kinds of colourful local butterflies.
9 - Palm walk This garden showcases over 60 species of
palms and cycads set among the native woodland.
10- The Lake
- Kary’s Pond Situated and the edge of the Buttonwood
Swamp, this area provides birdwathers with the a great opportunity
to view many of the Cayman Islands native birds as well as migrating
11 - Fern Swamp Features two native ferns that grow in
semi-saline swamp conditions and can achieve heights of up to
12 - High Spring Pond This deep sinkhole has an active
spring near its surface near which native plants are slowly establishing
themselves. The open water also helps encourage humidity-loving
plants in the area.
13 - Crocodile Hole The fossil bones of the Cuban Freshwater
Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) were
discovered in this wetland. Widespread and abundant when the early
mariners first visited these islands, the crocodiles now survive
only in the Zapata swamplands of Cuba. Look across the bridge
at the Hickatee Habitat wetland where our native freshwater
turtles have found a permanent home.
14 - Ground Dove Walk Native and Caribbean doves can almost
always be seen in this area if it is approached quietly.
15 - Bull Thatch Bend In the midst of a majestically wooded
area, an explosion of Bull
Thatch Palms / Thrinax radiata
creates a rare, lush vista.
16 - Calabash Corner The deeper soil in this area support
the growth of larger trees. Important native trees are being introduced
here, some of which may not otherwise be seen due to their inaccessibility
or rarity. These include the Calabash (Gourd) tree, the
Mastic, and the rare Terminalia eriostachya.
17 - The Blue Iguana Habitat Along
the Woodland Trail lies the Blue Iguana Habitat, which is the
centre for the National Trust's Blue
Iguana Recovery Program founded in 1987, with an ultimate
repopulation goal of 1000. The Habitat has become an exceptionally
popular area as the captive
breeding grounds for these fascinating reptiles (Cyclura
lewisi) who only two decades ago were facing extinction.
Frequently found freely roaming the grounds of the Park, these
"blue dragons" delight both local and foreign visitors
who happen upon them. Remember to see if one is not under your
car before you leave the parking lot.
18 - The Nursery We offer a
wide range of plants for sale. Business hours are 9.00 am to 4.00
pm seven days a week.