In the heart of Nassau, more than four acres of lush tropical gardens are inhabited by a variety of animal species, including the national bird of the Bahamas, the Caribbean flamingo. The site of Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre was originally designed by Jamaican horticulturalist Hedley Edwards in 1937. He named the gardens Ardastra, from the latin words ardua ad astra, meaning "striving towards the stars" because he felt that it depicted a 'utopia of peace, beauty and tranquillity'. He developed the picturesque and exotic gardens as a nature preserve, later bringing in the endangered Caribbean flamingo from the island of Inagua in the 1950's, developing what was to become a highly successful breeding programme. Over time, the birds were trained to perform for visitors and Ardastra became their permanent home. In 1980, the gardens were purchased by Norman Solomon, whose passion for wildlife and conservation education inspired him to incorporate more animals into the gardens and create a boutique zoo. Today, thousands of visitors visit annually to marvel at the tranquil, restorative gardens; enjoy close encounters with our collection of over 135 animals; and admire the long-legged flamingo beauties National Geographic has called “Ballerinas in Pink”. The opportunity to enjoy this rare gem will be a highlight for visitors of all ages.
Ardastra Gardens depends on philanthropic support from the public to meet its operating needs and to fulfill its educational and conserving missions.