Natural Attractions in Philipsburg

Photo Credit: © Patrick Hawks CC BY
 

Beaches, shopping, and dining are the top three reasons that tourists visit Philipsburg.  There is a fourth type of attraction that warrants some attention as well: sites that focus on the natural side of the island.  St. Maarten and St. Martin both have done a good job of setting aside some land designated as natural preserves, and those who stay in Philipsburg have easy access to these as well as a butterfly farm, historic plantation grounds, and even a zoo.  

Nature Preserves and Hiking

Loterie Farm Nature Reserve

Do you like being under the open sky? You may be happy to find out that the area has several interesting nature preserves nearby.

Sint Maarten Marine Park is a great nature preserve situated 1.5 mi. Southeast of central Philipsburg. Visitors looking to explore the natural ecosystems of Sint Maarten will definitely want to look around the Sint Maarten Marine Park. The park is a breeding ground for countless fish, the home to a growing coral reef, and a designated Important Bird Area where migratory birds often stop to rest during their long journeys.

Adventurers hoping to find a another great natural attraction will be interested in seeing choices like Loterie Farm Nature Reserve. The park itself offers guests the ability to explore the natural wonder of Saint Martin's forest. The hiking trail is relatively short at two miles, though goes up steep inclines, through ruins, and twists and turns that lead to side trails that can make the hike a little longer. You will have the choice of hiking with or without a tour guide.

Check out this table to learn more.

Nature Preserves and Hiking Near Philipsburg
Name Type Location
Loterie Farm Nature Reserve Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 3.8 mi. North of Central Philipsburg
Sint Maarten Marine Park Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 1.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Sint Maarten Marine Park Eastern End Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 1.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg
Sint Maarten Marine Park Western End Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 1.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg

Parks and Botanical Gardens

Travelers can visit a few parks, or a botanical garden in and around Philipsburg.

Wathey Square is found in Philipsburg. Within the square, which is picturesque with its palm trees, Dutch style buildings, and view of the sea, has a tourist booth were visitors can gather information about the island, peddlers hawking their wares, and an 18th century courthouse.

Another popular choice in this category is Emilio Wilson Historic Park. Emilio Wilson Park sits on the grounds of what was once a sugar plantation kept in operation by slave labor. In 1954, Emilio Wilson, the grandson of a former slave, bought the property and opened it to the public as a park in memory of the slaves who made St. Martin what it was.

The parks and gardens worth looking into are displayed in the table below.

Parks and Gardens In and Around Philipsburg
Name Type Location
Emilio Wilson Historic Park Park Saunders, 1.7 mi. Northwest of Central Philipsburg
Seaside Nature Park Park 1.9 mi. West of Central Philipsburg
The Butterfly Farm Botanical Garden Orient Bay, 4.2 mi. North-Northeast of Central Philipsburg
Wathey Square Park 0.2 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg

Zoos and Aquariums

St. Maarten Zoo

If the thought of spending some time at the zoo tickles your fancy, you should visit St. Maarten Zoo. Monkeys are a favorite at the St. Maarten Zoo, but other exhibited animals include birds and a host of mammals. The reptile and bat houses are not only educational, but a welcome reprieve from the hot sun, and a petting zoo is beloved by children of all ages.

A second related venue is The Butterfly Farm. The farm offers guests the sight of hundreds of butterflies, caterpillars, and cocoons; offering visitors great opportunities for group photos and a good place for the children to have some fun. Guided tours educate guests about the evolutionary cycle of the butterfly, from an egg to the caterpillar, and finally the butterfly.

View the chart below to learn more.

Zoos In and Around Philipsburg
Name Type Location
St. Maarten Zoo Zoo 1.0 mi. North of Central Philipsburg
The Butterfly Farm Zoo 4.2 mi. North-Northeast of Central Philipsburg

Plantations

Plantations Near Philipsburg
Name Type Location Island
Mary's Fancy Plantation Plantation Saunders, 1.6 mi. Northwest of Central Philipsburg the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

Land Formations

Another idea is to visit some of the more popular area land formations. Fully natural attractions like these in Philipsburg are summarized here:

Land Formations In Philipsburg
Name Type Location
Great Bay Bay 0.5 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg
Great Salt Pond Pond 0.6 mi. North-Northwest of Central Philipsburg
Point Blanche Point 1.3 mi. East-Southeast of Central Philipsburg

If you are looking for a wider variety of points of interest beyond what's offered in this category, you should cast a wider net. Click this link to find our article about other interesting attractions for Philipsburg.

 

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