We’ve all seen the welcoming VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTER sign on the large white building across the water from Morgan’s Mango. Have you ever stopped by? If you’re like me, the last way you want to spend your precious vacation time is inside a building and not at the beach. But this visitor center is different. I highly recommend making it one of your first stops when you arrive on St. John.
Located about two blocks to the left of the passenger ferry dock, the Visitor Center is a valuable and informative resource for those wanting to learn more about the island. Not only can you pick up a brochure, map, sunscreen, and souvenir, you can speak with a friendly Park Ranger and ask any questions you may have, get recommendations for hikes best suited for your fitness level, or learn about secret snorkeling spots that you might not otherwise know about!
Beyond just the usual (and often boring) visitor-type information at most visitor centers, the exhibits about the Virgin Islands formation, history, and culture are a must-do for anyone who visits St. John. If you’ve ever wondered about the petroglyph symbol you see in various island logos and incorporated into jewelry, you can find out about it here. When you return home from your trip and share your vacation photos on Facebook, you can include some of the interesting facts you learned about the geological creation of St. John, the sugar mill plantations seen throughout the island, and about the first inhabitants on St. John!
If you’re a new visitor to the island, you might want to schedule an hour or two at the beginning of your trip to check it out. And if you’re a long-time guest, or even a resident, I bet you’ll learn something new!
The Ranger Guided Programs such as the guided snorkeling tours, bird watching at Francis, and evening hikes into bat caves have not yet resumed, but we will keep you posted!
To contact the information desk, please call (340) 776-6201 extension 238