Or, for that matter, what makes anything (or anybody) special? Is it something old; something new, something borrowed, something blue? Is that why I like Ardastra Zoo? “Ardastra” means “striving for the stars.” It began as a tropical garden back in 1937 …a little paradisal sanctuary in the Bahamas. In the 1950’s flamingos were introduced and bred at Ardastra Garden with the hopes of nurturing their diminishing population. Their efforts have been a great success! The flamingos wander about everywhere as freely as the tourists, and I think the unique experience of being able to feed and interact with them is the single most appealing feature of the park. It’s their hallmark and claim to fame…what put them on the map so to speak. Then, in 1982 the gardens were bought by a Bahamian named Norman Solomon, who had a vision for making Ardastra even more special. In addition to the rainbow potpourri of exotic plants in Ardastra, Solomon expanded the gardens by establishing Bahamas’s first zoo.Beyond the visually beautiful flamingos and peacocks that grace the grounds, Ardastra has a host of colorful P.R. parrots you can engage in conversation. Although it’s not a big zoo, they do have 300 different types of animals, each with a captivating poster of fun facts that attract you to learn more. Also, not all the animals snub you when you want to get to know them better. There’s a petting zoo with lots of friendly faces reaching out to meet you. My brother Wolle is definitely a soft touch! So, what makes Ardastra (or anything) special? Being beautiful (inside counts as well as outside). Being fruitful. Being unique. Being unexpected (like this guy, who just popped out from the bushes).Being soothing. Being notable even in small details. Being approachable and interested in connecting. Being busy and engaged in life. Being quiet and reflective at times, Being natural and full of light. Being so fascinating that you’re worth pursuing. So, I don’t know if being old or new, borrowed or blue makes much difference, but I’m quite sure that Ardastra has what it takes to be special! You know, I don’t feel very “special,” do you? I’m not divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good (as Anne of Green Gables would say). But, here’s the really good news! All it takes to be special to God is to love and trust him with our lives. Now, how special is that?!?“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).