Smithsonian Institution

I’d never heard of Smithsonian Institution before I came to Bocas but apparently it’s a famous research centre for biologists and there are only 4 of them in the world, one of them being in Bocas. They offer free tours every Thursday and Friday from 3 – 5pm and someone I know does the tours so me and my friends Aude and Hellen decided to go yesterday for the tour, just for something to do. We took a $1 taxi from the Main Street because cycling would have taken about half an hour and my friends were too lazy and one of them doesn’t have a bike.

It looked big and impressive which was weird because there isn’t really anything else big and impressive in Bocas except the sea. We signed in (names and nationalities) with the security man who then told us to go over the bridge and we’d find the tour there. (This is the bridge):


At the top of the bridge it wasn’t obvious where to go and we couldn’t see a tour, and to be honest we’d basically been let loose in a biological research station which I’m sure would not have happened in England. A staff member eventually appeared after like 10 minutes and showed us where the tour was. To be honest I’m not particularly interested in biology so I was a bit bored when we were being shown through the labs etc. Again I was surprised, because the labs had half-completed experiments etc lying around and we were allowed to just wander round the rooms.

There was an outside part with water/oxygen tanks:


We stopped at one tank where people were allowed, if they washed their hands first, to touch this creepy-looking thing with tentacles:


Christian, the tour guide, turned over the starfish and told us to watch what happened. As I guessed, it turned itself over:


Other than that, nothing was particularly interesting except some monkeys but they were quite far away and the only picture I managed to get was one of their bums:


The tour lasted about half an hour. If you’re interested in biology you should go but if not then I doubt you’ll find it very interesting.

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