The Sea Turtle Rescue Center is owned and operated by the conservation company Sea Turtle, Inc. This establishment was created in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, better known as the "Turtle Lady of South Padre Island." The mission of this enterprise is to "rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist conservation efforts for all marine turtle species." When it was first created Sea Turtle, Inc. was focused around the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, though today its range is much wider. It is important to know while you are here that all the essential equipment and tools you see for the turtles, such as the food, medications, heaters, filters, water, electricity, and educational materials in general, come from guest donations and onsite gift shop sales, so don’t be afraid to splurge if you can.
Sea Turtle, Inc. provides educational talks and tours to any group size daily, though if you have ten or more students in your group you will want to book in advance, especially with all their fun Field Trip Tour options available. The daily 20-30 minute presentations are called Turtle Talks, in which staff members and educators from the region will talk about the company, local sea turtles, and Texas conservation efforts. You can see these daily info sessions in either the outdoor amphitheater or, if the group is small or the weather isn’t cooperating, inside among the tanks.
Outside, you may take a self-guided tour as well. After your tour you are free to stroll around and watch the turtles play in their pools, or even participate in an onsite scavenger hunt. See Allison the turtle's prosthesis be put on and speak to her lifeguard about her rehabilitation, or go over and watch Gerry the turtle eat his lettuce lunch and be put through fun and effective turtle "enrichment," great prep for being released into the wild again. Sea Turtle, Inc. rescues and rehabilitates between 40 and 100 plus turtles per season and also monitors 50 miles of local beach side for nests and hatching rescues/happenings.