Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach
||Palm Beach, FL|
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Turtles that are injured by boat propellers, fishing line, or other misfortune are rescued and brought to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, where there is a turtle hospital and tanks out back where turtles recover and gain strength. 85% of the turtles that survive the first 24 hours are able to be released back to sea.
It's fun for kids to come and see the turtles peering at them through the glass openings in the outdoor tanks. Come in summer and you may see baby hatchlings that have been saved from the beach. There is also an attractive exhibit hall about turtles full of buttons to press and flaps to lift- a young kid's dream! My daughter liked the turtle skeleton. The gift shop is full of lovely toys and shirts all featuring turtles.
A model of an Achelon fossil hangs from the ceiling- these gigantic turtle fossils were found in Kansas and South Dakota where during the dinosaur age they lived in the Western Interior Sea.
Outside there is a play area with a turtle, sting ray, and starfish to climb on. There is also a life-size shrimping net that you can climb inside and a display about how shrimp nets are required to have turtle escape-hatches in them. Older kids enjoy sticking their heads in the openings on paintings of people riding turtles and doing other fun things. At the recovery tanks, kids can read each turtle's name and read about what injury they sustained. I have to say, some of the turtles kept swimming repeatly against the small tanks like they wanted to get out- both my kids noticed this and it was kind of sad.
Everything is new, modern, and beautiful at the Marinelife Center, which is lively with its friendly, youthful volunteers. If you can catch a tour (Sun at noon), do it because you'll learn a lot about this part of Florida and the marinelife here. Also great is the Jr. Veterinary Learning Lab, where kids get to help a green sea turtle replica just like they would a real one in the turtle hospital (for kids aged 5 and up). Turtle Walks, to see mother turtles lay their eggs, are Wed-Sat nights at 9pm in June and July- registration starts May 1. You can also see recovered turtles be released back into the ocean. This is so wonderful! Check their calendar for these rare release dates, usually on a weekday around 11am.
Between the Marinelife Center and the beach is a park with a lovely playground, picnic areas with shade coverings, and trees. Extend your morning out there enjoying the salty ocean breezes.When you're done, have a walk and explore at Loggerhead Beach, which has some lovely shells and aquamarine waters.
Don't leave anything valuable or enticing on your car seat because there are many break-ins involving smashed windows here.
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Loggerhead Marinelife Center is located at 14200 U.S. Hwy 1, Juno Beach FL 33408. Call (561) 627-8280. Hours are Mon-Sat 10-5 and Sun 11-5. Admission is free! A $5 donation is appreciated.
Jr. Veterinary Learning Lab is Wed or Fri at 3:30, or Sat at 11, 1, or 2. No reservation required.
Tours are on Sun at noon- no reservation needed. Cost for tour is $7 per adult and $5 per child aged 3-11.
Turtle Walks cost $17 per person- children must be aged 8 or older. You can show up on the night at 9pm with $20 cash and join in if someone didn't show up. Otherwise, registration starts May 1 for turtle walks (held Wed-Sat nights at 9pm all June and July).
Exit Highway 95 at Donald Ross Rd and head toward the ocean. After you cross the drawbridge, turn left on U.S. Hwy 1. After two blocks you will see a big sign on the right for Loggerhead Park. Pull in there and follow the signs to the Mariinelife Center. There is free parking.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.