There are many causes out there that help animals and the environment. Loggerhead Marinelife Center, located on the beach in Juno Beach, Florida, is one of those places. What makes them extra special, is that it’s also a great place to spend some time with your family, while seeing some amazing turtles. They are a nonprofit organization, with the main purpose of rehabilitating threatened or endangered sea turtles, all while raising awareness of ocean conservation. AND, you may be lucky enough to watch a turtle release! Read on to hear all about that…
Whenever we are in the area, we make it a point to visit Loggerhead. In fact, our kids always ask when we are going to see the turtles. Oftentimes, places like this may be expensive to go to time after time; that is not the case with Loggerhead. Rather than charge per head, there’s a suggested donation of $5. I love this option. That way, guests can give whatever they have and visiting isn’t cost-prohibited. Once you visit, you will see your donation is going to a great cause!
Here’s our video from our recent visit:
Inside, to the right of the entrance, you will find a room with an overall blue tone from lighting. This area is highly interactive for kids and very informative for adults. On display, you will see various facts on the wall about turtles and sea life. Our kids love the drawers you can open that sometimes have items they can touch and play with. Other drawers have shells or other sea items under glass to look at. Everywhere there are reminders of how simple things we can do, will have a positive effect on the environment.
There are three large tanks that contain all types of tropical fish. We love looking at these and trying to find all the species listed as in the tank. Certain days, guests can attend a fish feeding for free. During the feeding, you’ll learn about the fish, what they eat, etc. Check out their website for the specifics on this. Registering isn’t necessary, but is a good idea to ensure a spot.
When inside the aquarium room, be sure to look up! Hanging from the ceiling is a massive turtle skeleton. It sure is a sight to see! On one of the large walls, there are replicas of the large sea turtles, with details on each type. It’s always cool to see how large these turtles really are.
Outside Tanks and Play Areas
The outside area is so much fun! You will find a bunch of large tanks, that resemble above ground pools. Each tank, houses a turtle that has been found somewhere, either local or from afar, that has been injured or was ill. While at Loggerhead, they will rehabilitate the turtle and nurse it back to health. In most instances, the turtles are healthy enough to be released back to the ocean (more on this, later).
Next to each tank, there’s a sign giving the name and background story for each turtle, including when and where they were found, what their state was, and how they’re currently being helped. One great part about this is there are windows in the side of the tank that are at eye level for kids. They can take a peak into the tank and, if the turtle is being friendly, can look right into their eyes!
Certain times of the year, in the smaller tubs, you will find hatchlings. They are SO cute and adorable. Personally, they are my favorite! So much is done locally to help keep the turtle nests on the beach intact, it’s great to see some of these little guys, safe and sound.
During our last couple visits, we’ve been lucky to see a turtle brought from rehab back into a tank. This isn’t something that’s scheduled, just by luck. Usually, the turtle is wheeled out on a stretcher and then lifted by a few staff members back into the water.
Be sure to take a picture of your kids next to the “How Do You Measure Up?” wall to see how tall they are compared to the turtles. We do this every visit and it’s so much fun to see how much they’ve grown.
Also outside, is a small play area for little ones to run around. Around this area, you’ll find a little snack bar with drinks and snacks. Our kids love to get ice pops from there and enjoy on the picnic tables in the area. If you’re looking for more fun after you’re done at Loggerhead, there’s a park with a playground directly behind it. Use the back exit to get to it.
There’s also a gift shop located inside. They have your typical gift shop items like shirts, hats and toys. What I love are the variety of soaps. Many are from local businesses. We always end up perusing the shop and purchasing and item or two. It’s all for a good cause. 🙂
Once the turtles are healthy enough, they are released back into the ocean. Follow Loggerhead on social media to stay up to date on when the releases are scheduled. We were lucky enough to watch one of these and it was great!!
If you want to go to a turtle release, arrive early and park at one of the lots behind Loggerhead. It will be easy to find the area where the release is, as they usually have cops on hand, to close the road when the turtle is being wheeled across. They’ll be a path cleared for the turtle and you can line this to watch.
The staff does a great job of keeping the crowd aware of the progress and when the turtle will be coming. You’ll need to get out of the water 15 minutes or so before the release. Two turtles were released when we attended. It was such a fun and unique experience for our entire family!
What Keeps Bringing Us Back
We’ve visited Loggerhead more times than I can count. Each time, it’s so much fun and enjoyable for everyone. They are working to expand their current location. With this expansion, they will be able to rehabilitate more turtles, welcome more students, and expand their research facilities.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Loggerhead Marinelife Center and intend on watching the progress! If you’re in the Juno Beach area and are looking for a fun and educational place to bring the entire family, head over to Loggerhead!
Loggerhead Marinelife Center located on US Highway 1 in Juno Beach, FL. They are open daily 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information on private tours or other questions, visit their website.