Sea Turtle, Inc. – South Padre Island, TX

I love sea turtles! It started on a visit to Hawaii when I met one of these beautiful creatures face to face while snorkeling. It was love at first sight!

So of course, I had to visit Sea Turtle, Inc. on our recent visit to South Padre Island. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was worth the $10 fee to see what there was to see.

Sea Turtle Inc. was founded in 1977 by Ila Loetscher as a nonprofit entity, funded entirely by private donations and gift shop sales. The mission of the organization is three-fold:

  • To rehabilitate injured sea turtles for return to the wild
  • Educate the public about endangered sea turltes and their marine environment
  • Assist with conservation programs to help their populations to recover

Ms. Loetscher soon became known around the world as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island”. Throughout the 1980’s she made appearances on David Letterman, Tonight Show, Today Show and even National Geographic Magazine!

The facility has been recently expanded and renovations are still underway. It was a beautiful center, and full of turtle stories. There were areas of education, rehabilitation, and even a hospital! They treat over 100 sea turtles each year for various issues, including but not limited to fibropapillomatosis (FP), entanglement, hook ingestion, boat strikes, impactions, predator attacks, and mass cold stranding events. Clearly, they are treated with the best possible turtle care 🥰

I will share two of my favorite turtle stories.

Meet Allison:

Allison weighs 140 pounds and her favorite food is lettuce! She was found stranded on the beach in 2005 and was missing three out of four flippers due to a predator attack. Although she was unlikely to survive, after receiving the first successful prosthetic device on a sea turtle, Allison is here today to greet visitors! What a sweet story ❤️

Now let me introduce Cowgirl. She is also the featured image at the top of this post,

Cowgirl weighs 9.9 pounds, and her favorite food is mackerel. You can read her story below and see that she had been rescued four times!

Wow, check out the size of the sea turtles!⬇️

So, if you ever get the chance to visit South Padre Island, make sure to include a visit to Sea Turtle, Inc! Say “hello” to Allison and Cowgirl for me while you are there!

Mural of Allison on one of the water tanks

16 Comments Add yours

  1. aussiebirder says:

    What a wonderful work they are doing there Lisa, and a great post sharing some excellent pics and information. We swam with turtles while on a beach on Lord Howe Island, a great Aussie bird haven. I managed to get some great underwater pics also. One turtle had its youngster in tow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, how awesome that would be! I’ve taken very few under water photos. I’ve used the old single use cameras, and I even purchased a cheap one (It didn’t last long!). If I lived by a warm beach, I would have to get a good underwater camera! You should share your photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow …. I knew they were big, but not that big! Cheers to the organization’s mission and work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Frank! Yes, apparently, they can be huge!!


  3. Toonsarah says:

    I love places like this, the result of an individual person’s dedication to a cause later taken up by others!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very cool, isn’t it? I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t realize we’d be able to see tanks of rescued sea turtles!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that’s a very cool place. I’d love to see it someday, I’m glad you shared it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shelley!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pepper says:

    I definitely have to go see the sea turtles next time I am in Texas! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are very sweet creatures!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I did not realise sea turtles could get that big! Wow! I love South Padre Island. Do they still allow people to drive on the beach?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that size chart fascinating?! I don’t know about driving on the beach, I only saw the beach patrol truck once. But we definitely were not there during peak season, I think I would go crazy! I thought their beaches were very beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Naomi says:

    Those turtle stories were fascinating. If we visit there we will greet them for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thank you! They are so cute!


  8. Wind Kisses says:

    Than you for this info. WE will put it on our list. I too fell in love with the sea turtle when seeing them swim in the wild in Hawaii. Impressive to see the vision of a person grow with this energy.

    Something tells me Cowgirl just loves Sea Turtle, Inc. Smart turtle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that funny?! (about cowgirl!) Yes, put it on your list!

      Liked by 1 person

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