Everyone has a special place in their hearts for the majestic sea turtle. These incredibly long lived creatures live a life of wonder beneath the sea, only to emerge on occasion to breathe, or to lay their eggs on the same beaches where they were born long ago. This summer, the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale invites the whole family to participate in an evening of sea turtle discovery on select dates in June and July. There, visitors will enjoy an entire evening of sea turtle exploration and identification while uncovering the natural history and myths of turtles.
At 9:00 p.m., the adventure begins at the Museum of Discovery and Science with an informative hands-on session about turtles (land, fresh water and salt water) with an expanded focus on sea turtles. Guests will also meet the Museum’s Ambassador Loggerhead sea turtle who is almost one year old. Once it reaches an appropriate size it will be released in the ocean. Museum staff will provide answers to questions about nesting, threats and conservation before proceeding to the beach.
The adventure continues to Fort Lauderdale beach where Museum expert guides lead guests to the sea turtle’s nesting grounds to look for amazing sea turtles. We cannot guarantee a sea turtle will be spotted on every walk but when it does happen it is a natural wonder that no one will ever forget.
Nature permitting, participants will have a chance to watch a 300 pound Loggerhead sea turtle venture out of the ocean to lay her eggs. A female loggerhead sea turtle may travel thousands of miles to return to the beach where she hatched as a baby to lay her own eggs as an adult.
The loggerhead sea turtle is found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea and is a protected species. It spends most of its life in saltwater and estuarine habitats, with females briefly coming ashore to lay eggs. The loggerhead sea turtle has a low reproductive rate; females lay an average of four egg clutches and then become quiescent, producing no eggs for two to three years. The loggerhead has a lifespan of 30-60 years.
The walks are offered on June 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26; and July 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10. Guests should be prepared to walk approximately one to two miles, and provide their own transportation and snacks. Participants must be 9 years of age or older. Advance reservations are required as space is limited. Please call 954.713.0930 to make reservations. Prices are $18 for members and $20 for non-members.
For people who prefer a bit more pep in their step, you can make great strides for endangered species during Mote’s 28th Annual Run for the Turtles on Saturday, April 5 at Siesta Beach.
The Run, which includes a 5K sanctioned by the Manasota Track Club and a 1-mile fun-run/walk, has provided major support for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program — an internationally recognized program that will soon begin its 33rd year coordinating sea turtle conservation along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.
All sea turtle species are considered threatened or endangered under federal law. Mote’s monitoring efforts provide crucial information to help resource managers protect these ancient reptiles, and Run for the Turtles helps to support these efforts.
You can register online or register on-site starting at 6:30 a.m. April 5 at the Siesta Key gazebo south of the pavilion.
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