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Marine Science Center Turtle Day celebrates marine life

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Just outside of Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet is the Marine Science Center where nearly 900 juvenile and adult sea turtles, more than 15,000 hatchlings and washbacks, and nearly 1,000 gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and snakes have been cared for since its opening in 2002. On Saturday, April 19, 2014, the center invites the public to come help them celebrate their 12th annual Turtle Day.

Festivities will include opportunities to get up close and personal with many of the Marine Science Center's and the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility's varied inhabitants. Guests can meet glove-trained birds of prey and pet a cownose stingray in the 14,000-gallon stingray touch pool where hermit crabs reside, as well.

The animal rehabilitation staff will be on hand to explain their roles when caring for the injured birds and sea turtles brought to them throughout the year. Guests can explore the center and the various displays in the exhibit hall where they will find a 5,000-gallon artificial reef aquarium, a stingray touch pool, anatomical exhibits of a whale and dolphin and much more. A gift shop offers many marine themed items.

Strolling along the boardwalks allows visitors an opportunity to watch turtles and birds receive specialized care and learn about the conditions that caused them to be brought in for treatment. View bald eagle and wading bird habitats, explore a nature trail through the coastal environment and climb an observation tower to spot birds in the wild.

Other activities on Turtle Day include face painting, crafts and live music. Vendors will be offering food, beverages and frozen custard. Admission to the Marine Science Center on Turtle Day is free. Hours for the event are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 19, 2014.

The event is sponsored by PNC Bank with assistance from Ritter's Frozen Custard, My Pi Custom Pizzas, Paragon Ocean Walk 10, and the Friends of Marine Science Center. For more information visit www.marinesciencecenter.com.

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