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Endangered Vacays

Dragon Tales

Cayman Islands

the draw

The Blue Iguana, no pet-shop cutie. It grows to more than five feet long, and it's so ugly, your kids will think it's the coolest thing since the T. rex. And it's nearly extinct.

how to see it

Head to Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (botanicpark.ky) on Grand Cayman. Take a guided tour of the Blue Iguana breeding facility. After you've seen how they care for and cuddle (!) the critters, the “warden” takes you on a trail safari. You may stumble upon free-roaming iguanas, as they have little fear of humans. Just don't go if it's cloudy: The hotter and sunnier it is, the more active they are. The park's also home to 56 butterfly types; five can only be found here.

where to crash

A ten-minute ride from the park, the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa (starwoodhotels.com) is posh but fam-friendly. Their SPG Kids Pass—an all-inclusive, round-the-clock meal and snack plan—is a good deal for finicky kids.

while you're there

Doggy-paddle with massive green sea turtles. Some at the Cayman Turtle Farm (turtle.ky) weigh in at over 500 pounds. They crush conch shells in their jaws like we tear open fruit-snack packets. You can swim (and snorkel) in the farm's two lagoons, where you'll also see southern stingrays gliding alongside you. During breeding season (May through October), you can see turtle nests on the farm's beach.

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