A renovation and expansion of the sea turtle exhibit at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers juvenile loggerhead turtles a larger space to swim and grow and offers visitors a more engaging experience.
The new display includes three areas: a life-sized bronze sea turtle sculpture perfect for family photo opportunities, a sea turtle swim area and a visual conservation message. Visitors can talk with an aquarium educator about sea turtles learning more about nesting behaviors, facts about the threatened animals and more. An education wall with conservation take-aways also encourages beach visitors to think about their own actions to protect sea turtles. Something as simple like filling in holes and sand castle motes can prevent a nesting sea turtle from becoming stranded. The highlight of the exhibit is the 360 degree view of a juvenile loggerhead. Aquarium staff planned, designed and completed the exhibit work during the winter months.
Currently, two juvenile loggerhead sea turtles and a green sea turtle reside at the Aquarium and help educate nearly 450,000 visitors a year about sea turtle species, all of which are threatened or endangered.
Each summer, the Aquarium works with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and local sea turtle rescue organizations, accepting a limited number of hatchlings that did not make the initial trek to the ocean. Generally, these turtles are discovered during routine nest excavations three days after hatching. During the turtles’ stay at the Aquarium, the animals receive careful monitoring and care to ensure proper growth and good health. In the fall, they will be released and, depending on size, will be fitted with satellite tracking devices to learn more about their behavior.
Sea turtle exhibit expansion