It’s BTS time thanks to Centennial Bank and I normally don’t pick favorites but any chance I get to hang out with turtles is going to be up there! Last Wednesday I spent the evening at the Gulfarium C.A.R.E Center and learned all about their efforts in partnership with Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism Department in rehabbing our precious sea turtles
Even better? You too can go behind the scenes at the C.A.R.E Center on August 16th at their next installment of C.A.R.E.ing for turtles. The session’s last around 1 hour and tickets are $15.00. Get you ticket’s for next week on their website here.
When arriving at the Gulfarium immediately grab your wrist band, check out the turtlicious gift shop and head back to the lobby where you’ll be greeted by the C.A.R.E Center team and cohost the Destin/Fort Walton Coastal Resource Team.
If you’re lucky, when you head back for the turtle talk you might get a flipper wave from some other friends at the Gulfarium. Jessica Valek, Coastal Resource Coordinator with the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism Department gives a turtle talk on nesting season and how to make sure as many hatchlings as possible make it to the Gulf of Mexico. Jessica is super knowledgeable and answers any questions you might have about volunteering, turtle nesting season and Gulf Coast marine life in general.
Up next, you’ll role play with some pretend turtle patients as if they were just rescued from the Gulf. Maybe your turtle has swallowed a fishing hook? Or been struck by a boat? Or maybe your turtle was tangled in fishing line and dehydrated? You’ll go through the entire process and decide if your patient should be rehabbed or released.
Lastly, you’ll be treated with visiting some real time patients of the C.A.R.E Center. During my visit, there were only a few patients, Boysenberry, Lime and Ellie (cute coincidence!). We went behind the scenes where all the care tanks are where you can visit the turtles and learn about their journey and time at the C.A.R.E Center.
Boysenberry was the most active while I was there and was showing off her new diving abilities to all the visitors. She is a 110lb sub adult that was found at Fort Pickens Beach on June 5 floating on top of the water. While Boysenberry is improving, she is still buoyant and anemic so her stay in not yet over. What I can say is she loves squid and loves the new deeper tank she has been moved to.
To end your visit, you’ll be treated with a turtle swag bag (heck yes!) and feel like saving the world one turtle at a time. Whether you’re a local or visitor to the area, I would recommend this visit! Learning about our marine life and how to protect it is important to anyone who loves our stunning slice of paradise.