Mangrove swamps cover approximately half of Grand Cayman and Little Cayman but very little of Cayman Brac. While at first glance the swamp appears to be a homogenous green thicket, in fact three main types of mangrove can be distinguished: the fringing red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), with its characteristic prop roots; the black mangrove (Vicennia germinans), with its dark bark and finger-like root projections called pneumatophores; and the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), with its pale trunk and preference for a drier location. Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), an associated mangrove species identified by its gnarled trunk, is often encountered in swampy areas too.
Mangrove areas perform essential ecological functions. They help to maintain the integrity of the freshwater lenses, upon which Cayman has traditionally relied for drinking water. They also buffer the land against the high winds and storm surges associated with Cayman's occasional tropical storms. Red mangroves often fringe shallow lagoons, where the prop roots offer protective habitat for schools of juvenile fish and lobster and support a tremendous variety of invertebrate life. As mangrove leaves decompose, they form the basis for a complex food-web on which many fishes depend. In addition to all these benefits our mangrove systems are also important habitat for a wide variety of birds.
Natural History Gallery
Realistically reproducing Cayman’s flora and fauna, the Natural History Gallery provides a look at the diversity of species and environments in the Cayman Islands. The gallery moves from the islands’ geological formation, to its current underwater and land life via a mixture of panels, dioramas, taxidermy, and interactive features, offering visitors a variety of interpretive options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the hours of operation at the National Museum?
The National Museum is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.
Is there available parking at the Museum?
There is limited street parking or paid parking at Bayshore Mall.
How much does it cost to enter the Museum?
Please see our Visiting page for more information.
How long does it take to go through the Museum?
It takes about 45 minutes- 1 hour to go through the Museum - this includes a 20 minute introductory video.
How long will this exhibition be on for?
This exhibition is permanent.
Can I walk to the Museum from the Cruise Port?
The National Museum is located within walking distance of the Port.
Are there guided tours?
Guided tours are available by appointment. Please see our Visiting page for more information.
Are audio headsets with different translations available?
There are no available audio headsets, but we are working on getting those very soon.
Is the Museum accessible by wheelchair?
The National Museum is housed within a historic building with limited accessibility; however, our ground floor and bathrooms are accessible.