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St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands  City Info
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Caribbean > US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas




Coral World Marine Park and Underwater Observatory:
6450 Coki Point
340/775-1555
A marine complex that features a three-story underwater observation tower 100 feet offshore. It's a 20-minute drive from Charlotte Amalie off Route 38. Inside, you'll see sponges, fish, coral, and other aquatic creatures in their natural state through picture windows.

Marine Gardens Aquarium:
Part of Coral World Marine Park;
Daily from 9 - 5:30
Admission charged.
Saltwater tanks display everything from sea horses to sea urchins. An 80,000-gallon reef tank features exotic marine life of the Caribbean; another tank is devoted to sea predators, with circling sharks and giant moray eels. Activities include daily fish and shark feedings and exotic bird shows. The latest addition to the park is a semisubmarine that lets you enjoy the panoramic view and the "down under" feeling of a submarine without truly submerging.

Coral World's guests can take advantage of adjacent Coki Beach for snorkel rental, scuba lessons, or swimming and relaxing. Lockers and showers are available. Also included in the marine park are the Tropical Terrace Restaurant, duty-free shops, and a nature trail.

Estate St. Peter Greathouse Botanical Gardens:
At the corner of Route 40
6A St. Peter Mountain Rd. and Barrett Hill Road
340/774-4999
Daily 9 - 4;
Admission charged.
This complex consists of 11 acres set at the foot of volcanic peaks on the northern rim of the island. They are laced with self-guided nature walks that will acquaint you with some 200 varieties of West Indian plants and trees, including an umbrella plant from Madagascar. From a panoramic deck in the gardens you can see some 20 of the Virgin Islands, including Hans Lollick, an uninhabited island between Thatched Cay and Madahl Point. The house is filled with a display of local works of art.

Paradise Point Tramway:
Across from Havensight Mall and the cruise ship dock.
340-774-9809
Daily 8:30-5
Fee charged.
Gondolas transport passengers 700 feet up a mountainside to Paradise Point. The 3.5 minute ride offers views of the harbor and Charlotte Amalie.

Charlotte Amalie:
The color and charm of the Caribbean come to life in this waterfront town, the capital of St. Thomas, where most visitors begin their visit to the island. Old warehouses, once used for storing stolen pirate goods, have been converted to shops. In fact, the main streets, called "Gade" (a reflection of their Danish heritage), now merge into a virtual shopping mall. The streets are often packed. Sandwiched among these shops are a few historic buildings, most of which can be seen on foot in about 2 hours.

King's Wharf
The site of the Virgin Islands Legislature, which is housed in the apple-green military barracks dating from 1874.

Fort Christian
340/776-4566
Named after the Danish king Christian V, this structure was a governor's residence, police station, court, and jail until it became a national historic landmark in 1977. A museum here illuminates the island's history and culture. Cultural workshops and turn-of-the-century furnishings are just some of the exhibits you can expect to see. A museum shop features local crafts, maps, and prints. Fort Christian is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Emancipation Park
Where a proclamation freeing African slaves and indentured European servants was read on July 3, 1848. The park is now mostly a picnic area for local workers and visitors.

Grand Hotel
Near Emancipation Park, the Grand Hotel is a visitors center which dispenses valuable travel information about the island. When this hotel was opened in 1837, it was a grand address, but it later fell into decay, and finally closed in 1975. The former guest rooms upstairs have been turned into offices and a restaurant.

Frederik Lutheran Church
Built between 1780 and 1793. The original Georgian-style building, financed by a free black parishioner, Jean Reeneaus, was reconstructed in 1825 and again in 1870 after it was damaged in a hurricane.

Government House
The administrative headquarters for the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's been the center of political life in the islands since it was built, around the time of the American Civil War. Visitors are allowed on the first two floors, Monday through Saturday from 8am to noon, and 1 to 5pm. Some paintings by former resident Camille Pissarro are on display, as are works by other St. Thomas artists.

Seven Arches Museum
Government Hill
340/774-9295
Visitors enjoy visiting the private home of longtime residents Philibert Fluck and Barbara Demaras. This 200 year Danish house has been completely restored and furnished with antiques. Walk through the yellow ballast arches into the Great Room, which has a great view of the Caribbean's busiest harbor. Admission fee includes a cold tropical drink served in a beautiful walled flower garden. Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 - 3, or by appointment.

Frederik Church Parsonage
Next to the Government House. Dating from 1725, and one of the oldest houses on the island. It's the only structure in the Government Hill district to retain its simple 18th century lines.

Yellow-Brick Building
Built in 1854 in what local architects called "the style of Copenhagen." You can go inside and browse through the many shops within.

99 Steps
These steps, which were erected in the early 1700s, take you to the summit of Government Hill, from where you'll see the 18th-century Crown House, immediately to your right on the south side of the street. This stately private house was the home of von Scholten, the Danish ruler who issued the famous proclamation of emancipation in 1848 .

St. Thomas Reformed Church
Dating from 1844. Much of its original structure, which was designed like a Greek temple, has been preserved intact.

St. Thomas Synagogue
340/774-4312
The oldest synagogue in continuous use under the American flag and the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere; it was erected in 1833 by Sephardic Jews, and it still maintains the tradition of having sand on the floor, commemorating the exodus from Egypt. The structure was built of local stone along with ballast brick from Denmark and mortar made of molasses and sand. It's open to visitors from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Next door, the Weibel Museum showcases 300 years of Jewish history. It keeps the same hours.

Enid M. Baa Public Library
Formerly the von Bretton House, dating from 1818.

Market Square
Officially known as Rothschild Francis Square. This was the center of a large slave-trading market before the 1848 emancipation. Today it's an open-air fruit and vegetable market, selling, among other items, genips (to eat one, break open the skin and suck the pulp off a pit). The wrought-iron roof covered a railway station at the turn of the century. The market is open Monday through Saturday, its busiest day.

The Waterfront (Kyst Vejen)
Where you can purchase a fresh coconut. One of the vendors will whack off the top with a machete, so you can drink the sweet milk from its hull.

Fort Christian
The town's top ranking historic attraction; a modest red structure that looks to be lacking in strength. The building dates to the 1670s when it served as a combined defense post, government house, church and community hall. When the threat of invasion dissipated, the fort became a jail and, since 1987, a museum with displays on the region's natural heritage (including medicinal plants and bird life) and art.

Market Square
Today the covered plaza is the local food market but it was once the Caribbean's busiest trading post for slaves.

Those craving peace and privacy are better off heading to the nearby uninhabited islets of Hassel Island and Great Outlying Neighborhoods

The most important of the outlying neighborhoods is Frenchtown. Some of the older islanders still speak a distinctive Norman-French dialect here. Since the heart of Charlotte Amalie is dangerous at night, Frenchtown, with its finer restaurants and interesting bars, has become the place to go after dark.

Another neighborhood is Frenchman's Hill. The Huguenots built many old stone villas there, and they open onto panoramic views of the town and its harbor.

Nightlife:

Theater

Reichhold Center For The Arts
Rte. 30, across from Brewers Beach
340/693-1559.
This amphitheater has its more expensive seats covered by a roof. Schedules vary, so check the paper to see what's on when you're in town. Throughout the year there's an entertaining mix of local plays, dance exhibitions, and music of all types.


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