I had never heard of a Turtle Hospital before my trip to the Florida Keys. There were so many incredible places to visit and things to see in the Keys. When I travel, I always look for places that would offer great experiences and memories for families. One of the places that I just had to share with you all was my visit to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida.
THE TURTLE HOSPITAL
What an experience it was to visit the Turtle Hospital. From the moment I walked through the doors I fell in love with the place. The caring staff, the turtles in rehab and everything the hospital stands for grabbed hold of my heart strings.
RESCUE, REHABILITATION, RELEASE
Every year about 70 sea turtles with injuries come to the turtle hospital for rehabilitation and they are released as soon as possible. Over 1200 sea turtles have been released to date!
You may wonder why sea turtles need a hospital. There are numerous reasons, some of which include flipper amputations due to being tangled in garbage such as fishing line, swallowing plastics that are in the ocean and even shell damage caused by boats.
The most common surgery that is done at the turtle hospital is for removal of Fibropapilloma – viral tumors that are debilitating to sea turtles. This disease is found in most Green sea turtle populations around the world.
ENDANGERED SEA TURTLES
There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, five of the species are found in the Florida Keys. All sea turtles are now listed as endangered, so I love that there is a place like The Turtle Hospital to help rescue, rehabilitate and release the sea turtles.
I love the educational programs that the Turtle Hospital offers daily. These programs are about an hour and a half long and include education, a tour of the hospital (and operating rooms) and up close experiences with the turtle patients that are in care at the time.
SEA TURTLE ADOPTION
Unfortunately, some sea turtles become permanent residents of the Turtle Hospital if they can not be released. I love that the hospital offers a Turtle adoption program. Adoption does not mean that you can keep a turtle, but it does mean that for $35 a year you will receive a photo and biography of your turtle, a certificate of adoption, and updates on your turtle throughout the year. The money goes towards food and medicine for your sea turtle.
TURTLE HOSPITAL STORE
I made sure to pop by the gift shop before I left. I picked up a little crocheted turtle finger puppet and a toy stuffed turtle as gifts for my daughters. These keepsakes remind us to think of the turtles and educate others about The Turtle Hospital.
When you visit the Florida Keys, be sure you take time to visit the The Turtle Hospital. It is an experience you will never forget.
View the video on the Mommy Moment Facebook Page.
I was invited on a media trip to the Florida Keys. All opinions are my own.