If you're in the South Florida area and are a S e a T u r t l e obsessing human like me, you definitely need to check out this hidden gem. I went to this place for the third time this past weekend, and I became more obsessed this time around. Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex is located in Boca Raton, Florida right across from Red Reef State Park. It's a fun education experience near the beach for ages young and old. Plus it's Sea Turtle heaven!!! You get to experience the up close and personal on everything about Sea Turtles and marine life.
The complex includes a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation center, four aquariums, a mangrove boardwalk, a Butterfly garden, and an indoor learning facility that contains the Florida Atlantic University Marine Science Lab. It also has the most amazing Sea Turtle gift shop you will ever find.
It is a Non-Profit organization, so it is technically free, but Donations are excepted.
Gumbo Limbo monitors over 800 nests a year within a 5-mile radius of the east coast beaches. They rescue and rehabilitate injured Sea turtles. The volunteers and biologists nurse the Sea Turtles back to health, and are released once they can survive on their own. More than 9000 stranded hatchlings are released during season as well.
Our Nature Center features several exhibits including our Sea Turtle Garden, a container garden with herbs and local flora, a gopher tortoise exhibit, a butterfly nursery, a sea turtle safe lighting exhibit, a rain barrel, and a solar exhibit. You may also sign up for our public programs, shop the Friends of Gumbo Limbo Gift Store, and pick up information on various nature and conservation related topics. - Gumbo Limbo Website
The Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center is my favorite attraction at the complex. It's a state of the art facility that provides protection and a sanctuary for sick or injured turtles. Volunteers are at hand to fill you in on the turtle patients and the treatments they are receiving. When I went over 5 months ago, I met Bruce. He had tumors all over his body. I was happy to learn that he was released a few weeks back.
There are four huge outdoor marine aquariums located in the complex. The first two tanks are filled with Marine life. From Sting Rays to schools of fish to lobsters, it's an exhilarating spot. One of the tanks provides a Mangrove Eco system, and the other a near shore reef. In the next pavilion, The third marine tank holds bigger fish with a tropical coral reef. It also may or may not contain sharks.
The final Tank, which is my favorite aquarium in the whole park, contains a ship wreck and holds the two cutest Sea Turtles you will ever SEA (; They have an above area where you can look below, but it was closed due to feeding time for the turtles!
Every time I have visited Gumbo Limbo before, I have never seen any baby Sea Turtles. I hit the jackpot this previous Sunday. FAU Students were conducting a research project on the population of the male or female, gender ratio. A public gallery is open for viewers to come see these little beauties. Excitement was an understatement for me.
This is seriously one of my favorite places in the world. You can go on their website and read more about this magical place! You can even adopt a Sea Turtle!! One of my dreams is to actually swim with a Sea Turtle. I plan on visiting all the Sea Turtle Rehab Centers and Hospitals located here in south Florida. You should too, and Gumbo Limbo should be the first one to cross off your list! They also have the Butterfly garden and the Ashley Trail which you will have to wait for a next time. Come back and stay tuned for <3