A sea turtle swimming in the ocean.
Photo by Michelle VanTine
The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is hosting its 17th annual TurtleFest at Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach on April 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The free festival offers live music, art, shopping and other activities while promoting conservation of turtles and showcasing the marine center’s Waves of Progress expansion. More than 15,000 people are expected to attend.
The expansion includes rehabilitation tanks where sick or injured sea turtles are nursed back to health. When they are medically cleared, they are released back into the ocean. You can adopt a sea turtle patient for $40, which provides food, medication, hospital care and tank maintenance.
Educational presentations around the facility will engage TurtleFest attendees in the conservation work of the center. But while you can get close to the turtles, you can’t touch them. They are protected by state and federal regulations. Trained marine center staffers are the only ones permitted to handle sea turtles for treatment and rehabilitation, and it is unlawful to touch, handle or harass sea turtles in the wild.
Approximately 129 of 300 species of turtles and tortoises are endangered or vulnerable because of habitat loss, poaching and the illegal pet trade.
Baby turtles taking their first steps.
Photo by Yury Birukov
The Loggerhead Marinelife Center, one of Florida's most visited nonprofit scientific destinations, focuses on the seven species of sea turtles: green turtles, loggerheads, leatherbacks, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley and Australian flatbacks. Leatherbacks are the largest and most threatened sea turtles. The marine center promotes knowledge of them with its Leatherback Project.
Music at TurtleFest will be provided by the bands Making Faces, The Copper Tones, Sierra Lane and Roots Shakedown. The center’s new restaurant will sell refreshments.
The center’s mascot, Fletch, will be in attendance, looking for any opportunity to play and dance.
Visit marinelife.org/turtlefest for more information about TurtleFest, including being a volunteer, sponsor or vendor.