All under one roof in the village of Flatts, not far from the major hub of Hamilton, BAMZ features three attractions in one spot. Built in 1926, and constantly expanding thanks to a 10-year master plan, the complex is best known for its huge aquarium tank that houses live coral and 100 species of fish in ocean and reef environments. The North Rock coral reef tank, a 145,000-gallon aquarium highlight, replicates the island’s North Rock reef using living coral. View sharks, groupers and barracuda darting among purple sea fans, brain and other coral formations. Additional tanks – which offer steps so children can see everything up close – showcase hogfish, lionfish, yellowtail damselfish and other tropical beauties.
Next door, the zoo features bird cages with macaws touched by scarlet, green and yellow, a host of pink flamingos, as well as lizard cages with several long, slithery reptiles. The complex also has a small but interesting Natural History Museum. Kids will love the behind-the-scenes tour, where they’ll learn about animal care and wild animal rescue, as well as BAMZ’s research and conservation initiatives. The new Azu Beastro serves up light meals and overlooks a children’s play area. BAMZ recently bought Trunk Island, a nature reserve, which is available to see on private tours.