Why Botanic Park entrance fee so high?

| 20/08/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I went to the Botanic Park and was asked to pay $25. Nowhere in the fee schedule is there mention of $25. When I protested that I was a resident and had never paid over $5, I was then charged $5 upon proof. Why the demand for $25? Was this legitimate? And why is the waterlily fountain in front of the visitors centre disgustingly full of algae? It’s at the Botanic Park, for crying out loud!

Besides which, the pool just within the park seems to be breeding mosquitoes. I came away with a dozen bites, all from the last couple of minutes resting there, after no bites while walking in the park for three hours or so. What must tourists think of such ineptitude!

Auntie’s answer: I reached out to John Lawrus, the general manager of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, who responded to all your concerns. I’ll start with the entrance fee.

Mr Lawrus explained that the park, together with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, offers a US$25 package that includes a guided tour of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme facility, which takes 1-1.5 hours, as well as regular admission to the park. Mr Lawrus added that the $25 tour “allows for funding that goes directly to the very important conservation efforts of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme”.

However, he explained that the staff ask visitors if they would like this option, otherwise admission is US$12.50 for tourists or CI$5 for residents. In your case, though, it seems that package was the only choice presented to you. With that in mind, Mr Lawrus assured me that he has spoken to the park’s staff, so this should not happen again.

As for the waterlily fountain, he said it is cleaned on a regular basis, but the high humidity as well as the park’s densely wooded environment, which is more shaded, promote the formation of algae, as opposed to an urban area exposed to sunlight. I guess you caught the fountain between cleanings. Perhaps the park’s staff could keep a closer eye on the fountain.

Finally, the mosquitoes. The park is regularly treated by the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, “but given its location, varied topography, natural and man-made features, there may be standing water. Mosquitoes provide both a positive and negative role in our ecosystems, and although we try to control them when possible, it is not always feasible,” Mr Lawrus said.

For visitors who do not bring mosquito repellent with them, they can check at the admission counter where staff will offer complimentary mosquito spray to apply.  

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Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I recently spent three hours walking around the park and left feeling relaxed and so blessed to have access to such a lovely site to visit. I saw blue iguanas, lots of birds including parrots and woodpeckers and although I didn’t look at the water lily fountain up close I saw the beautiful flowers as I walked by. The water lilies by the gazebo were stunning as were the many flowering vines and plants in the color gardens. I guess you just can’t please some people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I say petition your MLA to make entrance free on weekends and increase the government funding by $100,000 to cover the costs. This is much less than they spend on one of their overseas excursions, and it would be much more beneficial for the entire country. It would also save on the costs of having someone at the park collecting the money, someone accounting for the money, and someone having to audit to see that the money isn’t being stolen.

    Having families visit the park on weekends is a much more healthy and educational activity that what the children would normally be doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree more public funding for the park would be a good idea, and I think they should raise the age limit for children’s free admission, is it too much to ask people to pay $5 for an entire day at this beautiful botanic garden?
      Consider it a donation, is that too much to ask?

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m saying that the time and number of staff involved in collecting and accounting for that money is not worth the effort. Not to mention the fact that having cash anywhere these days makes you a target for robbery or break-in after hours.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just came back from visiting Moscow and St.Pete. Museums, palaces, cathedrals, exhibitions, art galleries, parks are free for children and students. St. Petersburg State Circus is free for children under 5 years of age and discounted for students.

      • Anonymous says:

        Quite a challenging comparison, millions of persons who are personally taxed versus a tiny island nation with a fraction of that and no personal taxation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No one should be allowed to “bring mosquito repellent with them” when visiting the park. Visitors should only be allowed to “TAKE mosquito repellent with them” when visiting the park!

  4. Anonymous says:

    :” Mosquitoes provide both a POSITIVE?? and negative role in our ecosystems”

    Here I was thinking that god and buddha got drunk one night and decided to create something to annoy us.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d love to know what the positive is – I’ve been wondering what their purpose is for years – other than reducing the amount of humans on the planet through disease?? What do they do exactly other than bite us?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excuses, excuses, excuses. No one takes pride of what they do.