As April arrives, so do South Florida's most beloved ocean residents: sea turtles. No one is more excited about their return than Juno Beach’s maritime steward, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. The leviathan leatherbacks have already begun laying eggs along the beaches within LMC’s purview—nine and a half miles stretching from Juno Beach to Jupiter Island.
To mark this unofficial start of turtle nesting season, LMC is celebrating the deep blue with TurtleFest. Taking place April 5, the annual family-fun event is dedicated to ocean conservancy awareness. This year’s theme, “Seas the Day,” is all about seizing the moment to make the future’s ocean habitats more habitable—an important lesson in light of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report [PDF] release March 31.
The daylong event—from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.—transforms LMC and Loggerhead Park into a family-fun festival. Highlights include educational presentations, shopping, live entertainment and interaction with the turtles in rehabilitation at LMC’s turtle yard. To demonstrate the interconnectivity of the world’s oceans and waterways, LMC’s Global Village will take visitors on a cross-oceanic tour, visiting seven coastal regions of the world to learn about the sea turtles native to each and the conservation strategies underway.
Live music acts include The Pine School Knights of Steel youth steel drum ensemble at 10:15 a.m., country darling Kendall Phillips at noon, the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Jimmy Stowe & The Stowaways at 2:30 p.m., the Tom Petty tribute Time with Tom at 3:35 p.m. and the “Big Band Reggae” group The Resolvers wrapping up at 5 p.m.
Fun educational and artsy activities include a fossil dig with Jurassic Parts, in which children get a chance to unearth mysteries locked beneath the bedrock. Resource Depot and the Solid Waste Authority will show guests that recycling and upcycling can be fun by creating masterworks out of reusable and recycled materials as well as the "choose to reuse" program. Jerry’s Artarama will also help kids create watercolors of sea turtles
For the third year running, Palm Beach Country students in grades 4-12 submitted environmental-themed artwork for a juried student art contest. Awards for Best in Show, Best Environmental Interpretation, Best Artistic Interpretation and honorable mention for each age group will be presented at the festival, and the pieces will be displayed at LMC through the summer. Kelly Tract will be the official featured artist of TurtleFest, anchoring artist row.
- TurtleFest is a free event held at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and surrounding Loggerhead Park.
- Festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Parking will be tight, so FPL has arranged for free parking and shuttle service at its headquarters in Juno Beach: [600-644] Universe Blvd., North Palm Beach, FL 33408. Click here for a map.