Local Tip: Trek With Turtles At SeaWorld’s New Exhibit
By Kelly Stilwell
We live in Florida, I have a daughter who is very involved in protecting marine life and conservation education, and we’re members at SeaWorld. So needless to say, we were all excited when the new Turtle Trek exhibit opened there earlier this year.
They bill it as the first 3-D, domed, 360-degree attraction in the world and even with that hype it manages to surpass my expectations. It’s unlike any exhibit I’ve ever seen. You can’t take photos inside, but this video gives you an idea of what to expect.
SeaWorld does a good job of mixing conservation with fun and this new exhibit is a good example of that mission.
Turtle Trek aims to show us what the journey to the sea is like for turtle hatchlings, and how we can become “everyday heroes” by doing even the smallest things to make that journey easier. The presentation follows Nyah, a green sea turtle, on her trek from hatching on the beach to becoming an adult. Watching Turtle Trek is like being in the ocean with the turtles and other marine life, without getting wet!
By educating the public about the problems facing sea turtles, SeaWorld hopes to increase the number of sea turtles who survive to adulthood. Isn’t it amazing that an adult will return to the same beach where she was hatched to lay her eggs? They face a host of dangers to do it, though. Learning how we can help really does make a difference.
One of the most important things we can do is to remember to keep the porch lights turned off at night when we’re living near the beach. It seems the turtles follow the natural light off the ocean’s horizon, and if they see a light in the other direction, they will follow it, too. Getting off track means getting eaten by a bird, raccoon, or other predator, or getting lost and overheating. (I’ve been fortunate enough to see a turtle release, and these little guys are so vulnerable! In fact, when the team releasing the turtles sees some struggling, they will hold on to them for a few days to give them a chance to gain strength for the journey. The release I watched was a second attempt.)
While you’re waiting in line for Turtle Trek, there is a lot to see! You’ll walk through an aquarium where you will come face to face with a sea turtle like this one.
You’ll also see all kinds of fish.
You’ll even see manatee!
Turtle Trek is an awesome experience. We can’t wait to go back, probably very soon!
Kelly Stilwell is a freelance writer and blogger who loves living in Florida with her husband and two teenagers. Visit her website, Virtually Yours.