February 13, 2020
Want the nightlife and the wildlife?
There’s no better place to be outside with a drink in your hand than at Ardastra Gardens’ Sip & Safari, a happy hour event scheduled for Saturday, February 15, in aid of the conservation centre’s animal rehabilitation programmes.
“We’re the Bahamian version of the great outdoors so this is the perfect nighttime hangout,” said Katherine Solomon, Ardastra’s director.
“Get a drink, kick back and relax while listening to music from Steve Holden and The Loose Crew. Food and cocktails will be on sale and it’s all for a worthwhile cause.”
Home to over 200 creatures representing 50 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, last year the conservation centre took in just under 100 orphaned and injured animals to rehab and release – when possible – back into the environment.
“We work hard to provide animals with a second chance at life, but we can’t do it alone. Fundraisers like our Sip & Safari help offset costs associated with rescue and transporting, feeding, medication, medical exams and sometimes surgery these animals require to stay alive,” said Mrs Solomon.
For decades Ardastra has been dedicated to the care of wildlife. Its most famous residents, the Caribbean flamingos – known the world over for their synchronized marching drills – were brought to the centre for breeding purposes when the species came under threat of extinction during the 1950s.
More recently, North American barn owls, Soren and Grumpus, have become two of the gardens’ success stories.
Soren was rescued from the Wyndham Crystal Palace Resort just before it was imploded in 2018. She was 20 days old at the time and required round the clock care. Not surprisingly, she imprinted very quickly on Ardastra’s workers.
Just slightly older than Soren, Grumpus was also a baby when rescued from an abandoned building. He was named for his less than pleasant demeanour during those early days at the facility. Once it was determined they couldn’t survive in the wild, both were trained to be ambassadors for Ardastra.
The rescue birds allow members of the public to get up-close and personal with wildlife. In so doing, they not only foster a greater appreciation for animals but help educate the community about the conservation work of the 83-year-old gardens, which opened as a nature preserve and morphed into a world-famous tourist attraction and a safe haven for exotic wildlife in crisis. The first Sip & Safari of the new year’s runs from 6pm to 10pm. Tickets are $10 per person.