ST THOMAS — Get lost in the beauty found in this wonderful eco-attraction on St. Thomas! Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden is arguably one of St. Thomas’s best-kept secrets. This beautiful botanical garden began as one woman’s vision to create a true botanical garden for the residents and visitors of St. Thomas. Opened to the public on February 7, 2015, the gardens at Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden have been groomed and cared for by longtime island resident Patsy Breunlin.
Located on approximately two acres on the island’s north side above Magens Bay, Breunlin purchased the property in 1993. What she described as a dense, impassable “jungle” has been transformed into a public botanical garden with over 1200 species of plants, onethird of them native to the Virgin Islands. An architect and general contractor by trade and gardener by passion, Breunlin combined her skills to convert her private property into a public botanical garden. “Phantasea started as my own personal garden because I enjoy tropical plants, orchids, and bromeliads,” Breunlin said. Thanks to her 30+ year residency on St. Thomas and her time spent living in Florida, she was careful about designing hurricane and earthquake-proof buildings at the garden to withstand the inevitable. As a result, the buildings at Phantasea survived the 2017 hurricanes with no damage.
A large assortment of bromeliads and orchids can be found in the garden, thanks to Breunlin’s love for these plant species. A wide variety of blooming and collectors’ species of orchids are on sale daily at the garden. Interested visitors can add their names to the garden’s mailing list and be notified of new shipments. Phantasea is home to several species of animals, including peacocks, tortoises, butterflies, and chickens, and other critters like lizards, iguanas, frogs, millipedes, and hermit crabs. Visitors can also meet longtime garden residents, Bert and Lola, Amazonian parrots that greet visitors at the garden entrance.
The garden offers fun, educational experiences for all with guided and interactive tours and interpretive signs throughout the garden that teach different facts about the plants, critters, and creatures. Thanks to the balanced ecosystem at Phantasea, you won’t find any pesky bugs in the area! Between the frogs, lizards, and bats each doing their part, the garden is unique in this feature.
Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm. Admission for off-island visitors is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Admission for V.I. residents with an ID is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors with their senior cards, and $4 for children 5 and above. There is no charge for children under 5 years. For more information, call Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden at 340-774-2916 or visit their website at www.stthomasbotanicalgarden.com.
Written by Anquanette Gaspard firstname.lastname@example.org