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Turtle Time: The Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Who doesn't love sea turtles? After all, they all are super chill, have Australian accents, and are experts on the major exit points of the EAC.

Oh, wait. You're telling me that I shouldn't be getting my marine biology lessons from Pixar movies?!

While my sister, Britton and I were visiting the gorgeous Jekyll Island Club Hotel, we headed over to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to find a more reputable learning center than Finding Nemo.

I was a little worried about taking Britton--she's only 15 months old, after all--but she ended up loving it! When we got our tickets, the attendant gave us these long cards that we then punched at different stations around the main educational part of the center. At the stations, we learned what happened to our (imaginary) turtles.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island, GA

Amber's lived to be a subadult and had crabs living on her shell (maybe that turtle needs to seek help from a doctor for that embarrassing little issue...).

Mine only lived to be a hatchling. Poor, poor little turtle.

Even though the delivery system is pretty simple, the impact was huge: the majority of sea turtles don't live to the age of reproductive maturity--which is around 30 or 40 years. And considering that turtles face threats from the moment they climb out of their shells, it's a wonder that there are any turtles still around.

The Sea Turtle Center is both a working rescue center and an educational resource. Turtle patient intake, some surgical procedures, and general turtle care is done in full view of the visitors. There weren't any turtles needing immediate care during our visit, but we did get up close and personal with this little cutie:

Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island, GA
 Meet Glory. He/she (it's hard to tell if the turtles are male or female because they're of reproductive age) was a straggler in his/her nest last year and couldn't get out. The volunteers at the center helped Glory out of the nest and took her back to the center in order to grow up in a safe environment. Glory has since beefed up and gotten healthy--she should have been released back into the wild this past weekend. Godspeed, Glory!

The second building on the center's property is the rehabilitation center where the injured turtles are brought to be recuperated. It was SO SAD to see what humans had done to these beautiful creatures. But it was also really, really great to see how much the center's staff works to get these creatures healthy again.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island, GA

This turtle was hit by a propeller and injured. She can't swim properly, so the center's staff is working on water therapy for her.

Some, like the turtle above, might be able to be returned to the wild. There were others, like the turtle who'd gotten so horribly tangled in fishing line that it cut his fin down to the bone, that will always be in the center's protection.

Then, there are these little sweeties:
Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Jekyll Island, GA
 Itty bitty witty turtles. SO CUTE!

Britton loved the turtle center (TURR-TULS!). She really enjoyed seeing the live turtles in the hospital/ rehab center, punching the turtle cards, and waving to Glory. If you've got an older child, he or she would definitely get more out of it than my 15-month-old, but even my toddler seemed to enjoy herself.

TURR-TUL! TURR-TUL! (She was loving pointing to all of them and staying that as loudly as she could for as many times as she could!)
The Sea Turtle Center is located at 214 Stable Road on Jekyll Island, Georgia. It's $7 per adult, and discounts are given for seniors and children. All proceeds go towards helping these turtles and future ones. The center is open most days throughout the year including Thanksgiving Day.

Do you like sea turtles? What's your favorite sea creature?