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“A really nice preserve!”

Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
Ranked #1 of 44 things to do in Eleuthera
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Designed as a showcase for native plants and their importance to the people of The Bahamas, the Preserve features gardens and wetlands designed by world-renowned landscape architect, Raymond Jungles, as well as trails through over 20 acres of natural areas. Walk with nature in this sanctuary for over 300 species of native plants, 65 species of birds, and 100 species of medicinal plants. The Preserve is operated by the Bahamas National Trust and funded by the Leon Levy Foundation. It was developed by Shelby White, trustee of the Foundation, in honour of her late husband, Leon Levy. The Preserve is the first national park on the island of Eleuthera.
Florida
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“A really nice preserve!”
Reviewed January 30, 2014

This is a really nice nature preserve on Banks Road about 3 miles from Governor's Harbour. I love that the Bahamians set this up for protection! There are lots of wildlife to observe, including racers and anoles, many of which were accommodating to us taking their pictures!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank langaha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Topanga, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“the most beautiful natural garden/nature/architecture combo”
Reviewed January 29, 2014

from the parking to the pavilions to the pathways, this is a magical place. the cistern water garden should be in every anthology of modern garden architecture. the paths are gentle but the tower destination still feels like the top of a tropical wilderness. i cant wait to see it during the orchid bloom, which must be extraordinary.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank clark s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“A natural Bahamian experience”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

If you want to know real Bahamian ecosystems this is the place to come. They have made it possible to experience a wide variety of Bahamian plant environments in a readily accessible and educational visit. They continue to expand the experience by having areas that exhibit plants used for medicinal purposes or early agricultural species. It is very easy to navigate the site and around each turn is another experience.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank VegasShells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Interesting walk”
Reviewed January 19, 2014

The air is clean, the path is well marked. There are a LOT of spider webs, but the critters in them are fascinating to watch. I am not a botanist so wish that the labels had been on the plants instead of reading on the sheet provided. But an interesting place to spend an hour.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank pcbbsn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A Gem of The Bahamas”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Our family, which is based in New York, has been coming to Eleuthera for over thirty years, and we have visited there in all seasons. Although it's tropical, there is a subtle seasonal variation in the flora which we have come to appreciate. Depending on the season of our visit, we might look forward to the blooms and fragrances of the poinciana, lignum vitae, yellow elder, the native plums, and the many bushes and flowering plants. If you're there at the right time, you might find sapodilla fruit, sea grapes, various plums, mango, tamarind, etc, in your backyard or at the local vendor. It has taken us more than a quarter of a century to become familiar with the rich flora of Eleuthera.

When the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve opened, we were thrilled that we could find everything we had seen and learned about the trees and plants of Eleuthera--and it was all now in one location. The Preserve is conveniently located in the middle of Eleuthera, on 25 acres on a wide part of an island that is renown for its spectacular beaches. But there is so much more to this beautiful island, and the Preserve points these attributes out exceptionally well. Working in concert with the Bahamas National Trust, the Preserve was designed as a research center for traditional bush medicine, as a place to re-introduce and propagate indigenous plants and trees, and an educational center especially for the local children, and it also strives to promote environmental awareness, biodiversity and sustainability. This noble vision was inspired by the work of Leon Levy, and the Preserve was dedicated to his memory by his wife, Shelby White, and is truly a work of love.

There is a history and a lore to the many types of wood in The Bahamas. For example, the Bahamian national tree is the lignum vitae; it is among the densest of woods and was used to shape ship anchors, ball bearings, mallets and such.

In the mid-seventeenth century, the settlers of Eleuthera sent a shipment of brasiletto in appreciation for much needed supplies. Harvard sold the wood and eventually sent a plaque of thanks which hangs in the library in Governor's Harbour.

Poisonwood is poisonous (and there are several of these trees planted so you can identify them in the wild), and a remedy is a similar looking tree called the gumelemi.

This and many other stories can be learned by walking through, up and around the various gardens and paths, by perusing the reading materials or speaking with the helpful guides.
My husband and I, being physicians, were very interested in the medicinal uses of plants and spent quite a bit of time at the bush medicine plantings.

We walked all the trails in the three hours we spent at the Preserve, including the one up to Ethan's tower for a lovely 360 degree view. It is not a difficult hike, and well worth the extra time. Bring a camera, and comfortable shoes are a good idea.

The Preserve is an exquisite gift to the people of Eleuthera, and one which any visitor to this beautiful island should make a point in visiting. For us, it is a gem which we look forward to sharing with our children and grandchildren.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank larymar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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