The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (QEIIBP) will fully reopen on Saturday (16th October) following a major cleanup effort after Tropical Storm Grace swept through the islands almost two months ago, announced the Tourism Attraction Board (TAB).
On August 17th, the Park nursery was completely destroyed, and many large and healthy trees were snapped in half or uprooted, crashing down on buildings, and blocking paths due to the strong winds experienced during the storm. Along with the removal of damaged wood from the nursery structure, more than 20 storm-damaged trees were taken away and dozens more hazardous hanging branches were trimmed to ensure the safety of all visitors who frequent the Park.
“While it was unfortunate the Park had to close, the safety and welfare of our visitors is our top priority,” said TAB Director Patrick Thompson. “With the cleanup work completed, we invite residents to come out and once again enjoy all of what the Park has to offer. We also want to publicly thank all those who donated their time, equipment and funds to assist us in this time of need,” he added.
The work was carried out by Botanic Park staff in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Regiment, the Department of Environmental Health, Robson Construction, Rotary Club Central, Garden Club Grand Cayman members, Tony's Toys, Genesis Trust, the Filipino community, and countless more dedicated volunteers.
“We are very grateful to all our staff, the support of the TAB and for the major contributions of assistance from the community after Tropical Storm Grace did some major damage, but in time the shade and full beauty of our gardens will return," said QEIIBP General Manager John Lawrus.
To ensure all was in order before welcoming back visitors, final inspections of the park were completed late last week by Mr. Lawrus and the QEIIBP Horticultural Manager Nick Johnson.
Coinciding with mid-term break, the Children’s Garden and its popular Splash Pad will open this weekend between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and will remain open throughout the week.
"I am very happy to have the Park open to the public again. There could not be a better place to enjoy a peaceful walk and recharge your batteries than at the Botanic Park. We will have a volunteer on hand at the Children’s Garden to ensure safety but ask that parents remain with their children as we will be adhering to all current COVID-19 Regulations,” said Mr. Lawrus.
Food and drink will be provided by Good Mood Food on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and plants will be available for purchase at the QEIIBP gift shop at the Visitors Centre.
“I also want to remind our visitors, that the National Trust Blue Iguana Conservation facility is up and running and will be open all week to accommodate walk-in and guided facility tours as well,” added Mr. Lawrus.
Entry to the QEIIBP is only $5.00 for residents and children under five years old are free. The Park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 947-9462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional fees are required to visit the Blue Iguana Conservation (BIC) facility. Contact email@example.com for more information and to reserve your BIC tour.
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The Tourism Attraction Board (TAB) is responsible for managing the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park; the National Historic Site, Pedro St. James; the Cayman Craft Market and the Hell Geological Site.