Sunday, April 20, 2014

South Padre: Another hidden gem...Kemp's Ridley

An inspirational and educational visit to the Sea Turtle rescue center will delight all age groups and raise your awareness around protecting and rehabilitating the Kemp's Ridley Turtle population amongst other marine Turtle species. It is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher better known as the "The Turtle lady of South Padre Island". Sea Turtle Inc is committed to rehabilitating injured sea turtles for their return to the wild. 

Inside the sturdy wooden hut that serves as the rescue center are tanks of all depths and diameters, to house as many injured and healing turtles as possible. Sea Turtle, Inc. has some turtle patients that are not able to be released to the wild. Sea turtles that do not have 75% of their flippers, have birth defects, cannot dive or are deemed unsuitable for wild life and permanently call the rescue center as their home. 

Allison tugs at your heart strings

Allison survived a predator attack in 2005 with one remaining flipper. For years, Allison could only swim in circles. In 2009, a STI intern designed a prosthetic device to help Allison swim! It was the first successful sea turtle prosthetic in the world. Since then, several iterations of prosthetics have been developed, each one improving on the last. Allison is undoubtedly the star attraction and loves all the attention as well!
The layout creates easy movement between tanks so visitors can peek into each, at the calm and lazy turtles inside. But be warned - just when you've given up hope at locating a turtle in the cloudy water, one just might come up for air and blow a giant bubble in your face; a pleasant, if not jarring, surprise :) 

To achieve its goals, they provide educational programs to schools, tourist bureaus, civic organizations and new media.  Each day, a volunteer meets visitors at the facility and talks about the different species of sea turtles, their importance to the environment, and what we as individuals can do to pull them back from the edge of extinction.

More Information

If you go
Getting there: Sea Turtle, Inc. and Sea Turtle Rescue Center are located at 6617 Padre Blvd. in South Padre Island. They are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; admission is free but donations of $3 for adults and $2 for children over 4 are recommended.
Info: Call 956-761-4511 or visit

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