The Florida Keys Turtle Hospital first opened to visitors in the year 1986, keeping four important goals in mind. First, the hospital is dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, and then releasing them back into the wild in their natural habitat. Second, the Turtle Hospital aims to educate the community by visiting local schools and providing outreach programs.

Third, the facility conducts and assists with various research that aids sea turtles in collaboration with universities in the state of Florida. Lastly, the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital works toward getting environmental legislation to make the water and beaches clean and safe for the sea turtles.

Visitors are welcome to explore the the rehabilitation area for sea turtles, as well as the facilities of the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital, as part of an educational guided tour. Theses guided tours last around ninety minutes in duration, and offer presentations about sea turtles. The interesting and informative experience also provides a behind-the-scenes look into the facilities of the hospital and sea turtle rehabilitation. Visitors are welcome to feed the Turtle Hospital’s residents following the end of each guided educational tour.

Due to the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital being a working marine life hospital, guests are required to join one of the facility’s guided tours if they would like to visit with the resident sea turtles. These educational guided programs are available on a daily basis, scheduled to run on the hour starting at nine in the morning. The last guided educational program takes place at four in the afternoon. Reservations for the guided tour are strongly encouraged, and those wishing to visit the Turtle Hospital can call the facility to make a reservation. The Gift Shop and Education Center at the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital are open every day from nine in the morning until six in the evening.

The Florida Keys Turtle Hospital treats a broad array ailments of sea turtles at its facilities. These ailments include damages to shells as a result of collisions with boats, flipper amputation which can be caused by entanglements with trap ropes and fishing lines, and intestinal problems from ingesting materials like hooks, fishing line, balloons, and plastic bags. The most common surgery performed at the Turtle Hospital is removing debilitating tumors, which affect over fifty percent of sea turtles, not just in the Florida Keys, but throughout the world as well.

More than 1,500 sea turtles of various species have been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild by the Florida Keys Turtle Hospital since it was founded in 1986. The sea turtles are reintroduced to their natural habitat in several different ways, and at a variety of locations. Which way and where they are released depends on the species of sea turtle. Green sea turtles are released approximately twenty miles to the north of the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Bay. Loggerhead sea turtles are typically released back into the wild at a Marathon local beach, or from a boat in the ocean or the gulf.

2396 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida, Phone: 305-743-2552, website, Map

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