Turtle Fest

Turtle Fest

For no extra cost to your entrance price explore turtle activities and events, there's lots for you to enjoy!
Have fun whilst helping us to protect turtles for future generations to come, and learn lots of cool facts along the way!

On the day!

  • Discover some of nature’s most beautiful creatures by meeting them up close.
  • Enjoy Turtle Talks and Feeding Demonstrations throughout your day.
  • Find Fun Turtle Arts & Crafts during your visit.
  • Take part in our Quiz Trail and test what you have learnt.

To help you prepare, why not download our Fun with Tyler Activity Pack before your turtle day at SEA LIFE!
Follow the link and print to help you make the most of your time with us!

Don’t forget to have a photo with Tyler before you leave!

For SEA LIFE centre opening times and entrance prices please go to the centre’s website that you are planning to visit by selecting from the drop-down in the top right of this page.

Thank you for giving us your support in helping us protect this vulnerable species from further harm.


Quick links
Turtle Threats | How SEA LIFE is Helping | Zakynthos Turtle Rescue Centre | Georgia Sea Turtle Center | SEA LIFE Conservation Fund | Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary | You can help | Become a volunteer | SEA LIFE Stories

About Sea Turtles

Loggerhead turtle

Sea Turtle Family
Sea turtles are cold blooded reptiles that have existed for around 215 million years. They were here before the dinosaurs!

There are seven species, the Kemp’s Ridley, Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill, Flatback, Leatherback and Olive Ridley. Today, six out of the seven species are endangered.


Turtle swimming

Where in the world
Sea turtles inhabit all but the polar oceans, and they nest on tropical and subtropical beaches. They travel long distances to feed, some species migrate across entire oceans. Juvenile and male sea turtles do not come ashore after they hatch.


Loggerhead swimming

Size
Adult male and female sea turtles are equal in size. The largest turtle is the Leatherback Sea Turtle, growing up to 2 metres long and weighing in at up to 900 kg (almost 2000 pounds)! The smallest sea turtle is the Kemp’s Ridley, which weighs between 36 - 45Kg (80–100 pounds). It is one of the most endangered turtles, with its worldwide female nesting population roughly estimated at just 1,000 individuals!


Turtle feeding

Diet
Sea turtles may be carnivorous (meat eating), herbivorous (plant eating), or omnivorous (eating both meat and plants). The jaw structure of each species is adapted for their diet. Some can live for more than a year without food!


Turtles surfacing

Migration
Sea turtles are able to travel across entire oceans to find warmer waters when temperatures drop. The Green Sea Turtle is a long-distance migrant that swims around 1,400 miles between feeding grounds and nesting sites. Loggerhead turtles can cover huge distances too.


Hatchling wriggling

Movement
Turtles are notoriously slow movers, though when in danger they can achieve a quick burst of speed around 20 mph to escape, which is as fast as a Tiger Shark! Certain species need to surface every few minutes to breathe, whereas the Green Sea Turtle can stay under water for over five hours without coming up for air!


Turtle nesting

Breeding
All sea turtles lay their eggs on land, burying them in sand and leaving them to hatch on their own. Even if they've travelled thousands of miles away from home, female sea turtles will always go back to the beach of their birth to lay their own eggs.

Despite laying between 100 and 200 eggs each time they nest, nearly all species are on the endangered list.


Turtle Threats

Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help preserve the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster and tuna.

These ancient creatures have fascinated people for many years, and are regularly incorporated into human culture by using them as subjects in stories, songs and poems. Turtles are also known to many cultures as an emblem of creation, longevity, and wisdom in belief systems. Unfortunately, this has not saved them from being hunted for both food and for profit. Millions of sea turtles once lived in our oceans, but now only a fraction remain.

In the wild, sea turtles face many obstacles to their survival. Out of the 7 species of sea turtle, 6 are now considered endangered as a result of human activities:

Turtle with Hook
  • Fishing

Sea turtles can become caught in fishing gear, nets and long lines, suffering injuries and even drowning as a result. It has been estimated that more than 250,000 Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtle’s are injured or killed by long lines every year.


  • Lights

Artificial lights from houses and other buildings can attract hatchlings away from the direction of the sea and can lead to exhaustion to them and sometimes adult sea turtles. This disorientation also makes them more vulnerable to land and air predators as they are not protected by the ocean waters.


Beach
  • Coastal Development

Many of the world's beaches have been heavily developed which has destroyed important nesting sites, and devastated coral reefs that sea turtles use to hide away from predators.


  • Hunting

All over the world they are hunted for their meat and shells by humans and their eggs are eaten by various predators. The population of the endangered Hawksbill Turtle has declined rapidly as a result of hunting for their stunning shells which are used to make souvenirs and jewellery.


Plastic Bag
  • Pollution

Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Once ingested they block the turtle’s intestines and can result in death. Currently, 80% of marine litter comes from land-based activities such as the littering of beaches, land-fills and the fishing industry.


  • Climate Change

Environmental conditions such as temperature change can also have an affect on sea turtles and even the sex of their offspring. The Earth’s warmer temperatures caused by climate change are disrupting the normal ratios, resulting in fewer male sea turtles.


Turtle Hatchlings
  • Predators

Crabs, birds and various marine creatures make easy meals out of sea turtle hatchlings as they emerge from their nest, which has driven their species towards extinction. It is now estimated that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings will survive every nesting period.


How SEA LIFE is helping sea turtles

SEA LIFE centres around the world are working together to raise funds to stop the decline of sea turtles and work for the recovery of its species.

We also lead global turtle conservation events that raise awareness of the damage that human and environmental activities do to impact sea turtle species, and are focusing our conservation efforts into campaigning to help preserve these vulnerable species for future generations.


Zakynthos Sea Turtle recue Centre

Our European SEA LIFE centres are focusing their conservation efforts to help fund the Turtle Rescue Centre in Zakynthos, Greece.

The Turtle Rescue Centre has made life a lot safer for turtles at a key breeding site. It is financed through donations from our guests and has been built with resources from SEA LIFE.

Turtle rescue

Rescue

As well as protecting vital nesting sites our volunteers rescue Loggerhead Turtles that are unwell or have been harmed, often by human activities.

Turtle rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

Sick and injured turtles are provided with speedy care without the trauma of an eight hour trip to Athens for medical attention.

Turtle release

Release

Once the turtles are healthy enough they are released back into the wild. Those that are not well enough to return are given a permanent home at SEA LIFE.


Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Kemps Patient

Each year many sea turtles are found injured or sick on the beaches around the United States. These turtles are rescued and cared for by approximately 20 turtle hospitals across the country. The hospitals are true champions for the sea turtles, restoring their health and returning them to the wild, or finding new homes for ones deemed un-releasable. All of our SEA LIFE aquariums in the US currently house turtles that can’t be returned to the wild due to their injuries.

Help SEA LIFE build new tanks for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center!

Turtle rescue

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, located on Jekyll Island, rescues and rehabilitates more than 60 sea turtles a year, but they need more space. SEA LIFE Aquariums across the US have pledged to raise more than $50,000 to build additional tanks at the Center. So far we have raised more than $10,000 through the generous donations of our guests and employees.

Please join us by donating to this worthwhile cause and help save sea turtles! For project updates, please visit www.sealifeus.com.


SEA LIFE Conservation Fund

Turtle Tagging

SEA LIFE Conservation Fund is dedicated to conserving turtles and their marine and freshwater environments, by funding research and educational projects that will help protect and restore threatened species and habitats.

Through its initiative “Turtle Watch”, SEA LIFE Conservation Fund is able to tag and track marine turtles rehabilitated at SEA LIFE centres and returned to the wild, providing invaluable data on the wellbeing of the individual animals and behaviours of the species.

SEA LIFE Conservation Fund also works to protect freshwater turtles – almost 43% of which are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species worldwide – with the creation of the 1000km habitat challenge to raise funds for freshwater habitat restoration. Since inception, the project has raised enough funds to contribute to the removal of three redundant weirs in NSW, which will restore over 220kms of freshwater habitat helping freshwater species.


Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary

Manly Turtle Rescue

Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary is committed to the conservation of marine turtles, rescuing and rehabilitating injured wild animals as well as a protecting their habitats to safeguard the future the species.

As a Sanctuary, and with an increasing number of rescue and rehabilitation facilities, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary provides a safe place for injured or sick turtles to receive treatment and to rest and recover before being released back into the wild when possible.

Manly Turtle Swimming

Recently, the Sanctuary has become an accredited research facility, meaning rescued turtles can now be tagged before returning to the wild, offering invaluable data on the wellbeing of the animals and movements of the species.

For Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary’s visitors, the site offers the opportunity to experience animal conservation in action, strives to educate on the threats to the species and to engage behind the change that will protect them.


5 ways you can help…

There are many ways for you to help too. Every little action an individual makes can impact a sea turtles' survival.

1. Reduce, Reuse Recycle.

A total of 8 billion plastic bags were issued by UK supermarkets in 2011. Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. They use beaches for their nesting grounds and litter left around could potentially kill them if they ingest it. Therefore when you go shopping Use a ‘Bag for Life’ not a plastic one.

Family beach

2. Take everything away with you after you’ve had fun at the beach.

3. Pollution is a major killer of sea life.

Make sure you buy eco-friendly products. The more often we choose these products over others, the more companies will produce.

Rescued turtle

4. Make a donation.

Help us raise funds towards the operating of our Sea Turtle Rescue Centres, or Turtle Tagging in Australia.

Look out for our turtle conservation campaigns!

5. Fish responsibly.

If you enjoy fishing, make sure to take hooks and lines home with you as both can prove fatal to sea turtles and other wildlife.


Wrist band

UK ONLY
Donate £2 to a worthy cause…

You can show your support too by purchasing a new Sea Turtle Adoption Wristband. All proceeds will go towards our turtle conservation campaigns. Find them at your local SEA LIFE centre.


Become a volunteer

Zakinthos Rescue Centre

What are you doing this summer?
If you wanted to take a step further in helping sea turtles and also wanted to gain an unforgettable experience then why not consider enlisting as a volunteer now to help us save the Loggerhead Turtles and Marine Life on the beautiful island of Zakynthos.

By acting as a volunteer and doing something essential for the turtles and the whole marine life, you also gain an unforgettable experience staying on the greenest island in Greece amongst the local characters of Gerakas.

You will get a feel and insight of what life is really about on this island, something you would never get to experience as simply a holiday-maker.

For further information please visit our website at
www.earth-sea-sky-global.org to find out all you need to know about volunteering for the forthcoming season.

Gerekas Beach

What are they trying to do?
The aims of the project:

  • To show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together benefiting visitors, locals and wildlife alike.
  • Protect the local flora and fauna and promote sustainable tourism.
  • To encourage visitors to take a closer look at the rich heritage, wildlife and culture of Zakynthos.
  • To promote the need for sustainable tourism.
Zakinthos Beach

Highlights

  • The thrill of seeing Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles and hatchlings in their natural environment.
  • Having the opportunity to gain experience combining sustainable tourism and conservation issues.
  • Learning the basic care and maintenance of aquatic, marine and reptilian animals at our Rescue Station – featuring aquariums and terrarium enclosures.
  • Bird watching to spot many of the rare migrating birds.
  • Getting a glimpse of the very shy and extremely endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus).
  • Experiencing Greek culture first hand on a beautifully verdant, picturesque island, and picking up some of the language.
  • Taking a great first step towards your career in practical conservation or simply making a lasting one-off contribution to the preservation of endangered species.
Earth, Sea, Sky

If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer and the role that you will play then please, please visit our partner’s website:
www.earth-sea-sky-global.org


SEA LIFE Stories

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle Flip Is Still Keeping In Touch!

Turtle release

On November 11th, 2012 rescued Kemp’s Ridley turtle ‘Flip’ was returned to the wild in the Gulf of Mexico…and we’re still hearing from her six months on!

Flip was rescued close to death from the shore near The Hague, Holland in December 2011, and cared for by the team at our Scheveningen Sea Life Centre.

Kemp’s Ridleys are native to the coastal seas off Texas and north Mexico and strandings on the other side of the Atlantic are extremely rare.

When she was finally restored to peak health a release missionw as planned with the help of Sea Life Dallas, and Flip was air-lifted across the big pond in early November.

She was then taken to the ARK animal rescue facility at Port Aransas, and fitted with a satellite tracking device before being returned to her native waters a few days later.

Flip is still sending a strong signal as she moves around the Gulf and is clearly doing well.

As of May 3rd, she had clocked up an impressive 2,249 kilometres, but her latest position was just 169 kms from her release site.

The care team in Scheveningen who did such a great job of getting her fit again are relieved that Flip is not heading back across the Atlantic.

If you want to see where Flip is today, and read more about her amazing story…visit http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?projectid=769 or http://www.visitsealife.com/Scheveningen/


Fresh Call For Action on Greek Turtles

Turtle Spotting

Sea Life Centres are renewing their campaign for better protection of vital sea turtle nesting beaches and the turtles themselves on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

They will ask visitors during a month-long Turtle Fest’ beginning mid May to sign a petition targeting the Greek Government and the National Marine Park of Zakynthos.

The centres successfully petitioned the EU on the same issue more than 10 years ago, and have since helped fund a vital Sea Turtle Rescue Centre on the island.

“We went to Brussels in 2000 demanding that protective legislation to safeguard the island’s important loggerhead turtle nesting beaches be properly enforced,” said a spokesman.

“It led to the EU threatening the Greek Government with stiff sanctions if they failed to comply, and yet our allies on Zakynthos report little if any improvement.”

Zakynthos hosts more than 50-per-cent of the nests of all the loggerheads in the Mediterranean, but both turtles and beaches have come under increasing pressure from the growth of its tourist business, the majority of holidaymakers hailing from the UK.

Spotter boats continue to harry adult turtles in the Bay of Laganas to provide tourists with close views…ignoring legislation about keeping a reasonable distance, turning engines off and cutting loud music.

Other problems include illegal coastal development, illegal tipping attracting gulls which prey on emerging hatchlings, and hopelessly inadequate policing of beaches and protection of nests.

Sea Life partnered Zakynthos-based wildlife group Earth, Sea and Sky to help get a new rescue centre built at the island’s southern tip to provide help for injured or sick turtles.

ESS director and founder Yannis Vardakastanis says the economic crisis has contributed to a lack of both funding and ‘will’ to protect the turtles and their nest sites.

“Last year saw fewer than 900 nests recorded as compared with around 2,000 in peak seasons,” said Yannis, “and bad weather meant that only 500 hatched successfully.

“The trend is one of continuous decline, and unless the Government is persuaded to implement protective legislation effectively, I foresee the disappearance of loggerheads from Zakynthos altogether within a decade or so.”

Sea Life’s petition, with additional signatures collected right across Europe, will be presented to the Greek Government in the summer, with details also provided to environment officials at the EU.

Issued by Sea Life Centres
For more details contact: Mark Oakley 01202 440040


Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary releases first tagged, three-flippered Green Sea Turtle into wild

Turtle release on beach
  • Now an accredited research facility, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary will lead the way in turtle tagging, monitoring and research this far south in Australia.

Sydney – Monday 15 April, 2013 – In light of receiving accreditation as an official research facility this month, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary today released its very first tagged turtle, Buoy, back into his natural environment following 20 months of rehabilitation.

When Buoy was discovered in very poor health off the coast of Collaroy beach 20 months ago, he was taken to Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary where he was treated and cared for by the team of passionate aquarists, who closely monitored his progress inside the attraction’s state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities.

Gerekas Beach

The release today marks not only the completion of his 20 month journey but also pays testament to Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary’s ongoing conservation efforts through the Breed, Rescue and Protect of Australia’s unique marine life.

“Buoy’s story is a truly heart-warming tale of success. Since arriving at the attraction, he has successfully recovered from a systemic infection and learnt to swim with only three flippers thanks to the meticulous monitoring and care by our dedicated team,” said Rob Townsend, Life Sciences Manager, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary.

“We are thrilled with the progress that Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary is making as a site committed to the conservation of Australian marine life. Becoming an accredited research facility means we can further develop our conservation work, starting with the close monitoring of Buoy to see how he is tracking as he becomes reacquainted with his natural environment,” he said.

Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary’s accreditation, received from the Department of Primary Industries, signifies an opportunity to take their conservation efforts to the next level in that it enables them to tag turtles and monitor their progress which will, in turn, provide valuable data on what happens to the few turtles that are released this far south.

The Sanctuary team will receive regular updates of Buoy’s whereabouts which will be transmitted via the tag back to the team, which will allow them to monitor his progress for years to come.

There’s a ton of turtle activities taking place over the school holidays at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary with four other huge Green Sea Turtles still on display in the oceanarium, two of which have been rescued and rehabilitated by the team at the attraction. Guests can see these massive and majestic turtles being fed every day with accompanying talks, and kids can embark on a turtle trail and take part in turtle ‘crafternoons’.

The more daring can take the plunge and enter Shark Harbour with Shark Dive Xtreme, or Kid’s Xtreme Sanctuary Snorkel! These amazing experiences are suitable for first time and experienced divers and snorkelers. To guarantee your experience, bookings are essential.


Print & Colour

Why not print our Turtle fest colouring sheets to play with!

PDF Turtle Fest Colouring Sheet 1

PDF Turtle Fest Colouring Sheet 2

PDF Turtle Fest Colouring Sheet 3

PDF Turtle Fest Wordsearch

Tickets Buy Online & Save!

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