Coral World gives fish-eye view of island life

     Any visit to St. Thomas must include a visit to Coral World, a unique underwater observatory that lets you see eye-to-eye with marine creatures without getting wet.
     Coral World brings you the beauty and magic of the marine habitats of the Caribbean up close and personal. The park is a beautifully landscaped 4.5-acre site full of the splendid plants and trees of the Caribbean with fabulous views of the ocean, neighboring islands, and the St. Thomas shoreline.
     It was developed by Trudie Prior,a past president of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, and her husband Neil, along with two other partners.
     Coral World has a wealth of underwater, outdoor and indoor exhibits. In the Observatory Tower, you descend to the Underwater Observatory where you stand 15 feet below the sea without getting wet. Here you have a 360-degree view of a natural coral reef teeming with fish and other marine creatures that are free to come and go as they please.
     The exhibits are designed to entertain, to educate and to inspire appreciation for the Caribbean marine environment and the beautiful plants and trees of the Virgin Islands.
     Spend a couple of hours or a whole day at Coral World...here are just a few of its offerings.
     Carib Cafe: At the entrance arcade near the boardwalk to Coki Beach you will find an outdoor cafe featuring pizza, salads, frozen daiquiris, shaved ice and a variety of cold refreshments. Relax at a cafe table overlooking the ocean, shaded by market umbrellas and an old banyan tree.
     Go Fish: Select the perfect gift or souvenir from a wide variety of marine-related gifts, wind chimes, limited edition art prints and collectibles and merchandise of special interest to children. Film and one-time use cameras are also available. Open daily from 9-5:30 p.m. Accesible from inside and outside the park.
     Currents: Visit this gift shop inside the park where you will find a variety of Caribbean spices, seasonings and cook books, gifts and other souvenirs. Currents is a convenient spot to purchase Coral World post cards for mailing in the world's first underwater mailbox. Drop them in the Underwater Mailbox in the Underwater Observatory (we will stamp them Mailed Underwater at Coral World). Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
     Dive Shop: Located at the entrance arcade next to the Coki beach boardwalk, the Dive Shop serves all Coral World and Coki Beach visitors. Snorkeling and dive gear can be rented here before or after you visit the park. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Coral World visitors get a $5 discount on snorkel gear rental.
     Lockers: Available to Coral World visitors for $3 per day with a $10 security deposit. Leave your valuables while you sunbathe or snorkel at beautiful Coki Beach only steps away. Ask the greeter at the entrance gate for a wrist band that will allow you to go to the beach and re-enter later for lunch or a snack or more time with the exhibits.
     Watersports:Try SNUBA, a cross between snorkeling and diving. Call 693-8063 for reservations. For a spectacular bird's-eye view of Coral World, the islands and surrounding sea, try parasailing with HighFeverParaSail.
     For more information on Coral World, click here.