Why We Love It: There's not much to do in the Palm Beach Gardens area, aside from the usual Florida vacation activities of golf, tennis, shopping, beach and pool. But the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach helps you get back, and give back, to nature.
When we first visited this place in 2001, the center had just a handful of above ground swimming pools in the back, where they rescued turtles who were injured by speedboats or who had gotten ill from floating litter.
Today, the center still rescues turtles of all kinds and sizes but they have a much bigger space to do so, including a room for an exhibit space up front, a junior veterinary lab in the back, a small playground near the turtle tanks, a "classroom" for presentations from a "Dr. Logger", and the all-important gift shop.
What Ages: All ages will love checking out the turtles in their tanks, especially since they've been given popular character names like Olaf and Anna. Younger toddlers won't really understand the severity of the turtle lessons, but these are perfect for elementary school children who are already learning about the environment and how their actions can impact the animals. (An example lesson: Plastic bags submerged in water look like jellyfish to turtles. When they eat the "jellyfish" it obstructs their stomach and they can get real sick.)
What to See: The turtles, duh. But beyond that, kids five and older can participate in the Junior Veterinary Lab, a 30-minute program where children "rescue" a replica of a green sea turtle. There are also afternoon fish feeding sessions, Hatchling Tales story time for kids under four, and guided tours.
When to Go: Since most of the center is covered, you can go anytime of day or year. It will especially make for a good rainy or cold day activity.
How Much Does It Cost?: There is $5 suggested donation, per person. Aside from the trinkets for sale at the gift shop (the usual assortment like t-shirts, books, and anything you can stamp the image of a turtle), you can also adopt a sea turtle too.
For more on the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, visit their website.
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