Summer is the best time for a turtle-lover to get outdoors! Hibernating turtles are all awake, the sun is bright with aquatic turtles basking, beach sand is warm with sea turtles laying eggs and their hatchlings scuttling across the shore to the ocean’s safety and so on and so forth…
So what are some of the best ways to enjoys turtles out in nature in the summer? Here are a few, from specific travel destinations to more general locations…
- Go on a Sea Turtle vacation tour – SEE turtles, through SEEtheWILD provides sea turtle ecotourism adventures to key turtle hotspots including places such as Cost Rica, Trinidad, and Nicaragua. Trips usually last one week…watch sea turtles lay eggs, tour and help researchers, get hands on with sea turtles… looks like a great time!
- Take a turtle walk – go to one of the many beaches where sea turtles regularly lay eggs. Many of these beaches are closed to the public at night and you may need to call ahead to schedule a guided turtle walk. Click here for a listing of Florida beaches with turtle walks. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida sells tickets online for their turtle walks and hatchling releases.
- Visit a sea turtle conservation facility – such facilities, usually (but not always are) attached to or partner with an aquarium, usually take in injured sea turtles, rehabilitate them, then release them or collect sea turtle eggs, incubate and hatch then release them. They house many turtles and usually have many large viewing tanks for your visual pleasure. The New England Aquarium in Boston (click here to learn more of some of what they do) or the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island, Georgia are two examples of such facilities.
- Volunteer with a turtle conservation project – usually an effort to help local populations of native turtles, they do a variety of projects that directly help turtles, raise awareness to the community, study and keep track of local populations. The diamondback terrapin conservation project in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in NYC is one example, this video is another.
- Visit your local aquarium – Most aquariums have one or two sea turtles, usually swimming around in a giant tank with sharks and other large fish. Also, they usually at least have at least one display with a freshwater aquatic turtle on display, a few reptiles, and amphibians too (usually dart frogs). In addition to the usual assortment of various saltwater and freshwater tanks (and planted tanks too!) you can’t lose. Always great fun for the whole family!
- Visit a place with turtles – go to a park or hike to a lake, there are so many ways to enjoy turtles in nature. The desert, woods, etc…. have turtles, although sometimes they aren’t so easy to find and not all places have turtles. if you like turtles, you most likely already know of a few local spots where you can find turtles.
These are just a few examples of wonderful summer turtle-themed activities & vacations and organizations/groups/companies. What are your favorite turtle activities?