Bermuda may seem like a manicured garden, but its somewhat limited open spaces nevertheless give an intriguing glimpse of the island’s wildlife. Well-managed government national parks in many parishes, as well as nature reserves owned by the Bermuda National Trust and Bermuda Audubon Society, account for 850 acres of green space and boast spectacular scenery.

Spiky green fruits hang off a tree with leaves resembling palm fronds.

A pandanus palm at the Arboretum. Photo © Malcolm Manners, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Pembroke Parish

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute: Part museum (with exhibits on Bermuda shells, geology, wildlife, and shipwrecks), part conference center and hub for ocean-based activities around the island, BUEI attracts the ecologically-inclined. Sign up for monthly lectures, spring whale-watching tours, or moonlit cruises to watch phosphorescent glow worms.

Devonshire Parish

The Arboretum: Devonshire’s largest open space is a beautifully unkempt 19-acre spread of rolling meadows, upland forest, and bluebird and redbird sanctuaries. Cedars, avocado trees, giant rubber trees, and fiddlewood groves abound.

Sandys Parish

Hog Bay Park: This is a rugged, 38-acre reserve in Sandys Parish where hikers can walk undulating trails through farmland, forest, and coastline, stopping to spot turtles and take a dip.

Smith’s Parish

Spittal Pond Nature Reserve: A magnet for migratory birds, this 34-acre park hugs the South Shore in Smith’s Parish. Trails, brackish ponds, and phenomenal ocean outlooks draw birders, cross-country runners, and local families, but like all the parks, it is quiet and underused.

Hamilton Parish

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo: Tour this historic Flatts facility, home to more than 200 local fish and invertebrate species, a 140,000-gallon reef tank, and a Natural History Museum that tells the story of Bermuda’s origins. Zoo exhibits reflect links with island environments around the globe. Its support charity runs snorkeling and turtle-spotting marine excursions.

St. George’s Parish

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences: Visitors are welcome at this world-renowned institution at Ferry Reach in the East End. Take a free morning tour of the station, where scientists come to study global warming, natural disasters, genomes, marine science technology, and potential medicines from the sea.

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Bermuda.