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The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida: Explore Turtle Rehabilitation

July 23
5 min read
TH 4
Table of Contents

    During my trip to the Florida Keys, the Turtle Hospital was one of the MUST SEE points on my trip. It ended up being one of our first stops during our drive to Key West. In Marathon, the Turtle Hospital offers information about various sea turtle species and their history in the Florida Keys. It additionally doubles as the starting point of the guided educational tours of The Turtle Hospital. This facility aims to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick or injured turtles. It also focuses on public education, outreach, sea turtle research, and legislative efforts to maintain clean beaches and waters.

    Get ready to visit and learn about this amazing mission in the Florida Keys!

    Where to Purchase Tickets

    In order to visit their turtles YOU MUST BE APART OF A GUIDED TOUR! They will not let you in otherwise. We had bought our tickets a month in advance when we were planning out our trip and we were glad that we did. Due to the facility’s size, and for the safety of people and the sea turtles, the tour groups are capped to around 25 people per tour. Our tour time was completely booked. People kept dropping in to check for availability, but ended up having to book for a later date. So if you are planning on visiting The Turtle Hospital, I recommend purchasing your ticket(s) ahead of time.

    What to Expect at The Turtle Hospital in Marathon

    The guided tours last approximately one hour. Multiple tours are offered throughout the day during the Center’s operational hours. Each tour begins with a brief orientation and educational session covering sea turtles, the facility’s history and operation, Florida’s sea turtle legislation, and ways to support the Hospital. The walking tour then explores the facility and its various turtle tanks, showcasing turtles at different recovery stages.

    The majority of their turtles are rehabilitating and will be released back into the water where they were rescued. However, there are a few permanent residents at the hospital because their conditions makes them unable to survive in the wild. As a result, they are cared for and spend the rest of their lives at the hospital. These turtles are up for adoption. In return, you received monthly updates about your turtle and letters from him or her. The proceeds go to helping feed the turtle and to their medical care and treatment.

    What to Expect: My Experience

    We had arrived 30 minutes early and entered the Sea Turtle Center and began filling out forms. Once completed, we checked in for our tour time and then began to walk around the room of the facility reading the plethora of information that covered the walls. It was incredible how much information was on those walls! They had information on the different types of sea turtles, the dark history of illegal trading of sea turtles, the Hospital’s and Center’s success stories, how people can help the cause, and much more. I was still reading information by the time our tour started.

    The Turtle Hospital in Marathon

    Following the tour guide, everyone entered into the informational session’s room where we were given a short presentation. From there we were moved into the hospital to view the imaging room and the surgical suite. Sometimes there are procedures going on at the same time as a tour and the tour will be able to view the imaging of the turtle. When we were there, a turtle had just been brought into the facility that got hit by a boat. They were in the imaging room while we were there but due to the nature of the turtle, they kept the outside viewing closed. Afterward we began the walking portion of the tour, viewing many turtles and turtle tanks.

    The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Is It Worth It?

    The walking portion was the majority of the tour and it was worth it. There were so many tanks and turtles to learn about and view. All of them were in different stages of recovery and exhibiting different injuries or illnesses. Though it’s unfortunate that many turtles are in this state, the facility ensures they receive care and will eventually be released into the ocean. During the tour, the guide shared each turtle’s story and the safe, environment-friendly paint used for their names. In the final tank, the guide distributed food, allowing us to witness the sight of turtles surfacing to enjoy the treats.

    In conclusion, The Turtle Hospital in Marathon stands as a beacon of hope for sea turtle conservation. The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is a vital hub for sea turtle well-being, offering education, rehabilitation, and unwavering dedication. Visiting isn’t just an excursion—it’s a chance to contribute to the meaningful journey of preserving oceans and the incredible turtles that inhabit them. Immerse yourself in this sanctuary of care, witnessing the positive impact of collective efforts in protecting our underwater friends.

    If you’re ever in Marathon, Florida, the Sea Turtle Center and The Turtle Hospital are definitely worth the trip. Be sure to book your tour in advance!

    Planning a visit to the Florida Keys?

    Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s

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