84.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


How do you like your shark? Swimming of course, and separated from you by some serious hi-tech glass. And that's what you get at Coral World Marine Park and Underwater Observatory. Adjacent to idyllic Coki Beach, Coral World answers questions about sea, land and sky life that most people don't even ask. And the learning process is as friendly and pleasant as spending a day in paradise: and you are!
The Underwater Observatory is a dramatic geodesic dome that at its deepest level gives you a clear vision into the Caribbean Sea. The coral reefs, highlighted by red, yellow and orange sponges, provide a home for myriad creatures from jonquil sergeant majors to schools of blue tang. Look among the swaying soft corals and violet sea fans to find the "Great Observer," a barracuda.
The next level holds a 50,000 gallon circular Predator Tank where lemon, nurse and Caribbean reef sharks share their watery environment with tarpon, large green moray eels, the largest Cubera snapper you have ever seen and a toothy barracuda. The third level is a place to relax, have a drink from the Shark Bar, check out the shell and old bottle collection and enjoy a panorama that stretches from Coki Beach to St. John and the British Virgin Islands.
Etched into the shoreline are Turtle and Sting Ray Pools and the center of the Marine Park hosts the Shark Shallows, home to our baby sharks. Be there at feeding time when an aquarist will explain their kinder, gentler nature…and let you pet one. In the Marine Gardens Exhibit, you will find out about Coral World's Sea Horse Breeding and Release Program with three thousand babies being born and more than one third of that number returned to the wild. Quite an accomplishment for the male sea horse who carries the eggs and delivers them from his pouch!
Take the nature trail beyond the Mangrove Lagoon and enjoy the Tortoise Pen, where the resident guests dine beside a water lettuce pond. The island trees, flowers, cacti and plants are well marked and tell a story of their use in cosmetics, medicine, hurricane protection and decoration. At the Caribbean Reef Encounter, the tank duplicates the complexities of reef life with queen angelfish, grouper, and parrotfish – and a multitude of others – swirling about in a magnificent undersea parade. There is a Touch Pool, a Parrot Aviary, fabulous shopping at two boutiques, two restaurants, parasailing, diving, snorkeling and SNUBA…..or just swim and sunbathe at Coki Beach.
The only question that remains unanswered is: is one day enough at Coral World? For more information, please go to our website at www.coralworld.com.

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