Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park
There are a few places in the world where visiting a museum requires an oxygen tank or snorkeling gear. The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, considered one of the 25 Wonders of the Worlds by National Geographic is one you don’t want to miss.
Located in the west indies of the Caribbean, this park attracts scuba divers all year round. The sculpture park, installed in 2006, is made up of 75 human forms that lay at 16 feet below sea level on the ocean floor.
While it originally only contained sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor, the Grenada underwater sculpture park has become home to other artists’ collaborations and additions.
The underwater park has helped preserve the natural wildlife of the area as well as created other reefs to practice scuba diving. Additionally, the beautiful surroundings and local culture of the island attract visitors from all around the world.
Who designed the underwater sculpture gallery?
The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park was the first underwater garden designed by the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
The sculptures are forever evolving, with the changes provoked by the waves, the natural environment, and their exposure to the Atlantic ocean.
The original installation, of 65 pieces, was supervised by the non-profit organization, The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Management Inc. Currently, the organization, along with the local government manages and maintains the park.
This underwater sculpture gallery represents life’s ongoing cycle, and the constant changes we are facing as humanity. Along with a conservationist approach, the British sculptor intended this to be a museum you could revisit and always encounter something new to observe.
Similar projects have been created by Taylor around the world, one on the coast of Lanzarote, another one in Cancun, and the third one in Indonesia.
While the underwater sculpture park was originally created by Jason deCaires Taylor, it has expanded and incorporated pieces of other remarkable artists throughout the years. This was particularly important after the damage suffered by some of the sculptures in a storm in 2008. Some worth mentioning:
- The silent cry – which was the first of a seven-piece series by the local artist Rene Froelich
- The Nutmeg princess – by the artist Lene Kilde
- Amerindian sculptures – 14 sculptures incorporated by the artist Troy Lewis
What can you expect to see at the underwater park?
This amazing marine protected area is perfect to encounter local aquatic life while having a scuba diving experience like no other. Surrounded by life-size figures, the marine life you will encounter amongst the coral reefs makes the underwater sculpture park a unique adventure.
The transformation these art pieces have gone through since their installations are one of the elements that keep attracting visitors, it always looks different.
With 75 art pieces at the sandy bottom of the Molinere bay, the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is a wonder to explore. Here are some of the most recognized pieces within the sculpture park.
This is one of the most remarkable sculptures you will see as you explore the park. Taylor incorporated the locals and reached out to the island locals to create it.
This sculpture shows life-size figures cast by local children, holding hands in a circle. Sitting at 13 feet below sea level, it is accessible for any scuba diver.
Their transformation by remaining in the ocean has many interpretations. One of them is that as they have remained on the sea floor, the artificial reef changes and reflects the growth of the children.
As the sea embraces them and they merge into a new environment, this can also be interpreted as the ease with which children adapt to changes. It has been considered an oath to how resilient children can be, and the passing of time.
Some consider it a representation of slavery due to the history surrounding its location, near the Middle Passage. In the way the children are holding hands, it could appear as if they’re wearing shackles, reinforcing the slave reference in them.
The Lost Correspondent
A desk covered with newspaper articles that include some historical pieces documenting Grenada’s and Cuba’s involvement. This sculpture is located 13 feet underwater and as the man sits with a typewriter, he draws attention to the rapid changes in communication.
His position, surrounded by a natural gully within the reef contributes to the office-like feel the sculpture was created to portray. The lost correspondent can be interpreted as the remains of the past and the unavoidable changes that come with the passing of time.
The Grace Reef portrays 16 female-like sculptures in the marine protected area, that lie across the sand and submerge themselves depending on the tides.
With ample exposure to the sea’s motion this, like most of the pieces, is an evolving sculpture.
The ladies are not always visible, while some days you can easily spot them through a glass bottom boat, others they’re nowhere to be found. They were cast from a local Grenadian woman, which enhances the link to the local community.
This simple but stunning sculpture portrays a young diver that references a popular local story.
It was positioned in a way keeps her at a constant flow of the water and enhances the growth of marine life within her.
Some additional sculptures worth mentioning for you to keep on the lookout for when you visit are:
- Tamcc faces – a project which involved local students.
- The Un-still life – that portrays a vase and fruit on a table
- Man on a bike – a whimsical sculpture
Marine life and Conservation
Aside from the artistic intent, these sculptures function as artificial reefs that attract a variety of marine life and created a sustainable environment. After the hurricane in 2004, the Molinere Bay underwater environment suffered considerable reef damage. The sculpture park has contributed to coral growth by redirecting snorkeling and scuba diving experiences away from natural reefs.
This has allowed the natural corals to restore and for a stunning array of marine life to proliferate. The sculpture park provides a stable and permanent platform for coral polyps to attach themselves, therefore creating an artificial reef at each sculpture.
Divers will have a great time exploring this underwater sculpture park. Even if you’ve already visited it, the underwater sculpture park will never look the same.
It is an artistic setup in constant evolution, due to coral growth that provides a new environment for marine life. This sculpture park is everything but an unstill life artistic installation.
How do I get to the Grenada underwater sculpture park?
Underwater sculptures are waiting between 13 and 16 feet below sea level for you to discover either by scuba diving, glass-bottom boats, or snorkeling. Whichever experience you choose, there are boat departures from the capital of St Georges or Grand Anse. It is a 10-minute boat ride, preferably a glass-bottom boat so you can see the underwater sculpture park as soon as you approach it.
Due to its proximity, it can be reached by land, walking southwards of the island, and then swimming up to it. However, it is recommended to visit the park with a tour, especially to get a description and a bit of history behind each of the sculptures.
Given the number of sculptures, it is advisable to take your time with each and have someone guide you so you don’t get disoriented while you’re exploring. Having a guide to provide additional information about the wildlife you will encounter will ensure you get the most out of the experience.
What’s the cost to visit the underwater sculpture park?
You can purchase a day pass for $1 (snorkel) or $2 (divers) USD at the local Ministry of Fisheries or book a tour. If you decide to book a private tour the entrance pass will probably be included in your cost. It does depend on how much time you want to spend at the park or if you want to visit other areas near the bays.
Underwater Sculpture Park Sailing Tours and Trips
To make the most out of your experience and what the island has to offer, be sure to check out a few sailing tours and trips. Some depart from Grand Anse Bay, last four hours, and are suitable for all ages. You can also book a private full day of snorkeling and sailing. Booking with local agencies is the best way to enjoy the ocean water and the beaches of the area. Find a tour that suits everyone’s favorite activity, cruise, sailing, excursions, and have an amazing trip. Be sure to check out the link below.
Some additional references and links for your visit to the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park:
- The Grenada Tourism Authority, learn more about the local community: https://www.puregrenada.com/
- If you want to scuba dive, check the options provided: https://www.puregrenada.com/diving/
- Touring the island and get the best out of your trip with this information: https://www.puregrenada.com/about/
- Tours for scuba diving to get the most out of it: https://www.scuba.com/blog/best-places-to-scuba-dive/grenada/
- Private tours and packages for your visit: https://www.getyourguide.es/-l1516/?partner_id=7YSNJDU&utm_medium=online_publisher&placement=other&utm_force=0&deeplink_id=3ce352ff-ff62-5344-878f-7e76f64f3919&visitor-id=FD908C678C854AC78EDF0EDF0B4D4878&locale_autoredirect_optout=true&redirector=21062&fromCollection=56
- Sailing Tours and Trips: https://www.toursgrenada.com/archives/tour/snorkel-trip-double-dip