No trip to Georgetown would be complete without a visit to the Botanical Gardens – one of Georgetown’s popular recreation parks. The Botanical Gardens houses one of the most extensive collections of tropical flora in the Caribbean and are laid out with ponds, canals, kissing bridges and a bandstand.
In 1877, Government voted $72,000 to establish the Gardens, and John Frederick Waby, the first gardener, arrived in Georgetown from the United Kingdom in December 1878. He spent 35 years in Guyana landscaping one of the finest tropical gardens in our region.
These gardens have a huge variety of tropical flowers and one of the finest collection of palms, as well as lovely lilies. An example of the gardens vast collection are the lotus and the immense Victoria Regia Lily, Guyana’s national flower.
The first attempt to establish a Zoo dates back to 1880, but the members of the Royal Agricultural Society were opposed to the idea. However in 1952, the Zoological Park was declared open.
The Guyana Zoo is also located within the Botanical Gardens and exhibits a variety of the world’s most impressive species of indigenous flora and fauna from the large and virgin rainforests of Guyana.
Some exciting representatives of these groups include the following species:
Mammals: jaguar, puma, tapir, giant otter, white faced saki monkey, capuchin monkey, tayra, a family of two-toed sloths and manatees.
Birds: eagles and hawks (raptors), parrots, toucans and owls.
Reptiles: rattlesnakes, spectacled caiman, anacondas, mata mata turtle, and emerald tree boa.
Some endangered species (animals with low population numbers in the wild) can also be found at the zoo. For example, harpy eagles, jaguars, a giant otter and West Indian manatees.
The Zoo is currently undergoing major renovation and refurbishing works under the ‘Three Parks Initiative” a project of the Ministry of Natural Resources & the Environment.