Nighttime educational turtle watching experience
During June and July the Friends of the Archie Carr Refuge conducts guided educational Turtle Walks on Saturdays located at the Barrier Island Center. Each walk has a limited number of spaces for guests to experience a nesting sea turtle lay her eggs, cover her nest, and return to the ocean. Florida's beaches, especially along the east central coast in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, provide nesting habitat for more nesting loggerhead turtles than any place in the Western Hemisphere and more green turtles than any place in North America.
Each walk starts with a presentation in the Barrier Island Center auditorium at 9 p.m. While you are enjoying the presentation, our scouts will be searching for a nesting loggerhead sea turtle within a half mile of the beach access at nearby Bonsteel Park. When a nesting loggerhead is found, the scouts will send a radio message that the group should be led to the turtle. Participants must be able to walk on the beach up to one half mile each way to and from the turtle.
In most cases, the group will reach the turtle while she is dropping eggs into her nest. We will remove sand behind the turtle to expose the eggs and use a red flashlight to illuminate them. When she drops last egg, she will cover the nest with sand and camouflage the nest by moving more sand. We will watch her during this process and while she returns to the sea.
Most walks are completed successfully by 11 PM. In a few cases, the nesting turtles are late and we will stay on the beach until a little after midnight. In rare cases (less than 5% in 2015 on this beach), no nesting turtle was found between 9 PM and midnight. If a nesting turtle is not found by midnight, we leave the beach.
We hope you join the Friends this summer as we enjoy the wonders mother nature has to offer. Please bring family and friends of all ages.
(The purchase of these tickets is considered a donation to the Friends of the Carr. Refunds will not be available.)