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New Turtle Center Draws Thousands to SPI

Allison, a rescued turtle, can be seen swimming inside a tank at the center. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The new turtle center on South Padre Island has been in full operation and it’s a must see place to visit for anyone interested in learning more about these fascinating reptiles.

The $6 million facility is one of a kind and was designed to watch turtles either rescued in bay waters or undergoing some sort of rehabilitation.

Take for instance Allison, a 13 year old Atlantic sea critter that swims with the aid of a prosthetic.

Considered as non-releasable due to its condition, five other turtles can be seen along with Allison in one of several huge tanks built for them.

The new center opened early this year and it’s one of the Islands major attractions.

Sanjuana Zavala, spokeswoman with the center, said the center has extended hours during the tourist season that runs from the Memorial Day through the Labor Day weekends.

Admission is $10 for adults and $4 for children.

Zavala said about 45,000 visitors have come to the center during the first three months it opened, or from February through April of this year.

“We have seen an increase in attendance since the new center opened,” she said. “Besides the resident turtles, we have about 15 under rehabilitation.”

For more information about the center or about turtle releases this summer, go to: www.seaturtleinc.org.

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