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Sea turtles are one of the Florida Keys’ rarest inhabitants. They are challenging to spot in the wild. Yet, if you are lucky, you might spot dozens of them while kayaking or snorkeling.


But did you know the Florida Keys have a special place for these aquatic creatures?


The turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida, lets you get close to several turtle varieties. This unique hospital does incredible work to save and protect these magnificent creatures.


Turtle Hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Bnboly

Turtle Hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Bnboly

If you love sea turtles, you would be curious to know more about this place. You would ask yourself:

What is this turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida? What do they do, and how do they help sea turtles?

In this post, we will explore more about its operations. Besides, we will also talk about the challenges faced by sea turtles and the efforts taken to protect these incredible creatures.

So, join us on this journey of discovery and conservation!

About Turtle Hospital Marathon, Florida

Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL, is a unique place for sea turtles. This non-profit facility focuses on rescuing and taking care of sea turtles.   The founder Richie Moretti started it in 1986. It is interesting to know that he had this place as his motel by the sea. But, when Hurricane Wilma caused flooding, he turned it into a hospital for sea turtles.

Loggerhead babies enjoying their pool time / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

Loggerhead babies enjoying their pool time / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

This turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida, has volunteers and professional veterinarians. They work as a team to feed and care for injured sea turtles.

Today, it is an excellent center for rescuing and rehab of sea turtles. The facility is one of a kind. It is the only state-certified veterinary turtle hospital in the world.

The hospital features a massive aquarium of 100,000 gallons of water. It is like a pool where sea turtles swim and enjoy their time in a safe environment. Some turtles are permanent inhabitants, as they cannot survive in the wild due to their health. Others live there until they are strong enough to go back home.

It is worth highlighting that this turtle hospital in Marathon is home to many turtle species. The oldest inhabitant of this place is a turtle named “Bubble Butt.” This sea turtling has been living here since 1989. He was hurt by a fast boat, but thanks to the hospital, he recovered and now living a good life.

What They Do at the Turtle Hospital Marathon

The primary object of the hospital is to rescue and care for injured and ailing sea turtles. It is a life-saving haven for them. When sea turtles get sick or injured, they find refuge in the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida.

Operation table in turtle hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

Operation table in turtle hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

The staff here provides them with special care and treatment. They offer medicines, food, and a safe place to rest and heal. The primary focus is to assist turtles with their recovery so they can return to their homes in the ocean.

Moreover, the hospital also offers them an environment that mimics their natural habitat. For instance, it has water tanks with proper temperature and lighting. This ensures that different sea turtle varieties find their temporary home familiar. Besides, skilled veterinarians track rescued turtles’ progress to ensure their health is improving.

Turtles get vitamin and mineral-rich diets that speed up their recovery. Physical and rehabilitation exercises also help them regain strength, mobility, and natural behaviors.

Where’s the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida

The Turtle Hospital is situated at 2396 Overseas Highway in Marathon, Florida. If you plan to get there, it is easy to find. You can find it just 3.5 miles after the city’s airport and 1.5 miles from the Seven Mile Bridge.

Look for its near-mile marker 48.5 (MM 48.5) as you drive along the highway. If you are traveling from Key West, it is about 48.5 miles away. And from Key Largo, it’s around 60 miles away.   The Turtle Hospital is open to the public every day from 9 am to 6 pm. They offer official tours that start every 30 minutes from 9 am. The last tour of the day begins at 4 pm.

Moreover, these guided Educational Programs last about 90 minutes, offering a detailed experience. If you plan to visit with family, book your tour in advance to avoid crowds. Besides, once you have booked, arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time. That way, you can explore the education center, browse the gift shop, and take photos.

The Turtle Hospital Entry Fee

You must pay an entry fee to visit The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida.

This fee helps the hospital to continue its fantastic work for the safety of sea turtles.

For adults, the entry fee is $25 for each person. If you have Childs between the ages of 4 and 12, the cost is $13. Yet, kids under 4 are free to go inside.

Paying your entry fee makes you a part of the guided educational program. This unique tour teaches you about sea turtles and how we can help care for them.

Critical Operations of Turtle Hospital

Staff at turtle hospital helping an ailing sea turtle / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

Staff at turtle hospital helping an ailing sea turtle / Flickr / Yuxuan Wang

Here are the key intentions of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida:

Critical Care

The Turtle Hospital boasts a professional staff. Skilled veterinarians and staff work hard to ensure turtles’ safety. They offer critical medical attention to Injured and ailing sea turtles. Whether boat-hit wounds or injuries from marine debris, turtles get proper care and rehabilitation. The hospital’s team works hard to diagnose and treat turtle ailments. It ensures that these glorious beasts get the care they need.

Emergency Rescue Operations

When sea turtles are in trouble, the turtle hospital in Marathon comes to their aid. The hospital has a team of super-skilled individuals who undertake daring rescues. They know how to save and care for turtles during transportation to the facility. The hospital is excellent at caring for the turtles and moving them safely. They make sure the turtles are okay and can recover well.

Personalized Sea Turtle Treatment

The Turtle Hospital offers personalized treatment. Professional veterinarians scrutinize the specific needs of sea turtles to develop treatment places. Doctors and nurses watch them and give them the necessary medicine and surgeries. The ultimate goal is to help these turtles improve and become healthy again. Each turtle gets personalized care to have the best chance of getting well.

Nutritional Rehabilitation of Sea Turtles

The right food plan is crucial for ailing or injured sea turtles. At the Turtle Hospital, doctors plan special diets for them based on their health and needs. These diets have all the nutrients they need to be strong and healthy. Besides, regular feeding and diligent monitoring contribute to their overall well-being and rehabilitation. It helps the turtles get better and ready to return to the ocean.

Public Outreach Programs

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is a special place that takes care of sea turtles. But they also do something extraordinary – host events for people like you! These events teach you how important it is to protect sea turtles. When you go to the hospital for these events, prepare for fun and learning!

During these events, they share lots of interesting facts about sea turtles. You’ll learn why these fantastic creatures need our help. The best part is they want you to have a blast while you’re learning.

But here’s the essential part. These events have a significant purpose. The hospital wants to make visitors feel responsible for caring for marine life. They want you to understand that we all have a job to protect our oceans and their habitats. So, when you go to these events, you’re not just having fun but also learning about sea turtles. You’re helping to keep them safe and sound.

Release and Tracking Efforts

Once the turtles are fully recovered, they must release sea turtles. The doctors help them return to their homes in the wild!   This is a super important step, making these beautiful creatures feel happy and free again. It is like an adventure for them and a very emotional moment for the hospital staff.

Sometimes, doctors equip turtles with special instruments before releasing them in the wild. These tools help doctors learn exciting facts about sea turtles. For instance, they can track where the turtles go and how they move. Besides, it also allows veterinarians to understand sea turtles better. This way, they can develop effective strategies for the safety of these creatures.

Video Credit: @TheAtlantic

Visiting the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida

We had the chance to visit the Sea Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida! It is a unique place where injured sea turtles get lots of care and tons of love.

As we explored, we saw many stunning things. One of the best highlights was watching the vets and caregivers working hard to help sea turtles. They were gentle and kind, ensuring each turtle got their needed attention.

A sea turtle in the Turtle Hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Aprilisis

A sea turtle in the Turtle Hospital, Marathon, FL / Flickr / Aprilisis

Moreover, the hospital also has separate areas for turtles based on their needs. For example, one of the sections has clean water tanks. There, visitors can see different varieties of turtles swimming in these tanks. It is an incredible experience to see them glide through the water with so much curiosity. Besides, the best part was knowing these turtles were getting stronger daily.

Furthermore, the hospital also has a particular room for turtles with shell injuries. We saw caregivers putting bandages on the injured turtles. They ensure that these turtles have a comfy and safe place to heal. Seeing how much the vets and caregivers care about the turtles’ well-being was heartwarming.   Moreover, the Sea Turtle Hospital even has a place for visitors. There, you can learn more about these fantastic creatures. You will see excellent displays and fun learning activities. Visitors learn about sea turtles’ safety and why caring for their homes in the ocean is essential. You will even see models of turtles up close to learn about their unique features.

Before leaving the hospital, make some time to join a guided tour. The guides are very knowledgeable. They will share interesting facts about sea turtles and how this place helps them improve.

Wrapping Up

The turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida, is a fun place. It is an excellent destination for a family trip. You will have the chance to learn more about different sea turtles species. The hospital staff is amicable and welcoming. Not only the hospital offers an educational experience, but it also lets you make a real difference. By learning more about sea turtles and their challenges, you will understand how to help them live safely. It teaches us to be mindful, reduce pollution, and protect sea turtles’ natural habitats.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to visit the turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida?

Yes! The turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida, is easy to access. It is conveniently located at 2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050.

How much does it cost to visit turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida?

To visit the turtle hospital, the admission fee for adults is $27. If you are with family, the admission fee for children ages 4-12 is $13. Moreover, kids under 4 have no entry fee.

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