The animal flower cave in the Northern most tip of Barbados is a fascinating area. Its where the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea collide as they swirl around this tiny Caribbean Island – Set apart and to the east of the leeward islands in the lesser Antillies.
Its place is distinctive and so its it origins. Unlike most other islands Barbados is primarily a coral crustacean pushed out of the sea by volcanic action a very long time ago.
Limestone rock, coral, chalk and sand are the common qualities of the earth. A thing layer of solid gather on top on an infertile uplift of line stone and coral. It is fascinating to go down beneath the thin layer of soil that has deposited it self over time. Beneath is a patchwork of rock, clay, coral sandstone forming cavities and crevices that are intriguing to explore.
The best know caves in Barbados are Harisons, they are several miles to the east and south of the animal flower cave. A trip to Harisons cave is well worth the efforts and you will learn a lot about the unique formation of Barbados from their short film. But we are now at the Animal Flower cave, tine by comparison and far less splendid, it became famous for the animanal flowers that once flourished in the pools within the cave.
Review of the Animal Flower Cave as a Place for Kids
The thing about caves is that children love to explore them and are intrigued to find swimming pools and secret doors and all the mysteries on being underground. The colors and forms as also inspiring. If you let the child in you out you will find dragons and butterflies along with faces and hands hidden in the ceilings and winding rock formation and the coral clay walls. Kids marvel at the magic of it all. There are miniature pebble beaches with sand that is sometime washed up into the cave by a heavy sea.
It is a hidden den and a tiny copy of live above but with its own cieling of earth and artful colored coral rock. A microcosm of our world in a den beneath the earth.
A Tragic Beauty
The animal flowers are not what they used to be, but the few on display in the shallow pool, still fascinate children and adults. They shut up tight when you touch them or even disturb the water around them. They do look like flower at first in bloom and open in magnificence, they quickly pull in their flower like petal and dart into nothing when disturbed.
The petels (called tendrils) are used to grab their food and are studded with venomous cells called nematocysts, which release toxins into prey such as fish and crustaceans, paralyzing them for easy digestion. They are a deadly beauty. The flowers in the cave are harmless to us but they are meat eating plants and you would not want to be a tiny fish passing by. The guides will tell the story to children who are usually amazed at the idea of a meat eating flower.
The Cave and the Sea
You do need to watch your step and it is a bit slippy on some of the rocks.
The guides will help you along but it its not wise for the very elderly of anyone that is shaky on foot, to go prancing about the cave. If you have a balance problem you may want to sit this trip out and have a drink at the lovely north Point Restaurant overhead instead!
Waves In Caves
This is the north end of the island and sea can bet very rough. Althought the cave is 30 or more feet up from the surface of the sea, in extreme weather waves have been know to come right in. The cave will normally be closed if the sea is high, but it has happened in the past when things were not monitored as they are now. The problem is not so much that the sea comes in, though that can jostle you about a bit, its that it goes out with equal or more force.
Many years ago Les Wotton of the West Coast Water Sport and his son Rex where exploring the caves when one of these waves came rushing in and filled the cave with water. Rex dove down and hung on tight to some coral attracted to the floor till the waters left. Les was not so lucky and got taken out and plopped into the ocean.
Fireengines and ambulances, friends and family and all the curious came to rescue. He was pulled up by ropes and pulleys, up over the jagged cliff face, and not surprisingly was bashed up. But he got back safe and sound and a little wiser that before.
One of the Top 10 Fun Things to Do With Kids
The Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia Rates the Animal Flower Cave in the 5 top favorite fun places for children. As we noted its is a magical world under the earth, and a delight for kids.
If you like this underside discovery be sure to go to Harisons cave listed above, and for something under the water check out the Atlantis SubMarine Adventure much loved by kids.