A Rainy Day in Cayman
It can’t always be perfect now can it? When you’re forced away from your sun lounger by a bit of rain – remember – there’s more to Cayman than white sand and azure waters…..though admittedly it’s hard to see past these sometimes. Here we present you with a couple of rainy day alternatives to the indoor pool.
Cayman Islands National Gallery
The Cayman Islands are, and have been, home to some fabulous artists over the years – and thankfully, the National Gallery seeks to illuminate many of these for your perusal. It’s a recent addition to the islands, built only in 2012, but it’s a fabulous contemporary building with a wonderful collection of local art. The lower ground .oor generally displays a particular artist’s work -recently for example the work of David Bridgeman (an English born artist who has lived on the islands for almost 3 decades). The upstairs part of the gallery groups pieces together in a particular theme (with running themes such as watercolour, post Hurricane Ivan, etc), while the gardens are home to a series of beautiful sculptures including the Dianne Siebens Labyrinth. There’s also a cafe and the gallery holds classes on ceramics, as well as a variety of ever-changing lectures and screenings.
Cayman Islands National Museum
The National Museum is a pleasure to behold both on the inside and the outside. The museum is housed in the oldest public building on Grand Cayman – constructed in the traditional method of wattle and daub architecture, and faces the pretty George Town harbour. The exhibits are exceptionally well designed and give you a sense of what makes these Islands so very special. There are several separate displays that include pieces on maritime history, oral history accounts in audio presentations, and key aspects of the culture and how Caymanians have developed over time. If you’re with the family – then let the kids loose on the hands on exhibitions that will see them exploring plant and animal communities both on land and sea. There’s an interactive exhibit that demonstrates how the beaks and feet of birds reveal what they eat and how they live and other displays that explain sea turtle migrations and the complex ecology of coral reefs. Unfortunately a considerable amount of the museum’s interior had to be re-designed after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, but the damage exposed an old jail (the “Old Gaol”), which has become a new exhibit.…with a very interesting story. Don’t miss the newly revealed graffiti that was left by prisoners held there during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Granted – you may not want to walk around admiring the architecture whilst its raining – but we happen to think that the islands look even better when coated with a thin layer of rainwater. Cayman Architecture is much like Cayman art which draws much of its influence from the islands’ diverse beginnings. It’s been commonly described as a Caribbean mask on varying styles with a Caymanian charm. From basic structures built from local timber and palms to homes made from Caymanian Ironwood and US-style bungalows – you’ll see a wonderful assortment of buildings – allowing you to peek through the windows of the islands’ history.
Other honourable mentions for things to do in the Cayman Islands when it’s raining…or when you need a day or so away from the beach – include: submarine rides to see the coral reef – without getting wet, seeing a Caribbean film at the annual Caribbean Film Showcase and seeing some live music – such as the national Cayman Choir, the Cayman Islands Folk Singers or a local live band in one of Grand Cayman’s many live music venues.