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History – Visiting Turtles

by Visit Corpus Christi Texas

Did you know that we have tourists of other species that have been visiting the Corpus Christi area for many, many years? They’re also some of the highest profile as well – Kemp's ridley sea turtles. These awesome creatures migrate to our beaches to nest on prime gulf-front property and get much needed help from the wonderful staff with the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore to get the hatchlings in the water.

History – Visiting Turtles Image
Photo credit: National Park Service

Dr. Donna Shaver, who leads the Division, has shared some insights and really cool facts about the history and impacts of turtles releases.

The public Kemp's ridley hatchling releases have been held at Padre Island National Seashore since 1978. That’s nearly 40 years of helping save a critically endangered species. Turtle power!

Fact numero dos - Location is everything. Padre Island National Seashore is one of only two locations in the U.S. where public releases of Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchlings are held. Talk about exclusivity!

These releases are world famous. Seriously! Visitors from all over the world come to Padre Island National Seashore to attend these releases. Many people have told the team attending a release was on their bucket list. Beautiful beaches, check. Friendly people, check. Turtles hitching a ride to the Gulf, check.

History – Visiting Turtles Image
Photo credit: National Park Service

Thousands of people visit Corpus Christi to attend these releases each year, and thousands of hatchlings are released each year. It takes 10-15 years for these turtles to mature, so the staff at Padre Island National Seashore believes we are likely seeing returning second generation and maybe third generation turtles from these releases. They are also seeing a second generation of people attending - they hear from many people that attended the releases as children and are now bringing their children to attend. Is that not the coolest experience?!?!

Head down to the Padre Island National Seashore and watch a release. If meeting a rockstar team, watching life begin for these turtles and taking in some awesome sights is not on your bucket list for the family, then write it down and start planning!


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