The Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau offers locals and visitors alike a free Nighttime Educational Beach Walk, including learning about and looking for sea turtles.
Where, When, and Availability
The tours are always free and open to the general public. They take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between June and October, starting at 7:30 p.m. Although they are open to the public and free, you should sign up ahead of time. This is an important step since each tour only has room for 20 people per evening. Remember that all tour attendees must be six years old or older. When you sign up for the tour, you will get information about that week’s location, as this varies based on the availability of turtle nests and the weather. The time may also change slightly, so keep an eye on your email or phone.
Starts With a Quick Presentation
Before you go on the sea turtle walk, you get to learn all about them first. George Gray, a local sea turtle expert and the turtle coordinator in the area for the past two decades, will answer any of your questions. In the presentation, you’ll learn about various sea turtle species in the area, how they nest on the local beaches, and how to understand their tracks. The talk will also dip into the biggest threats the sea turtles face and how you can help protect them. All of these are based on Gray’s expertise and his experience looking for new turtle nests each morning. Of course, you will also learn about why sea turtles are so important for the local ecosystem.
The Turtle Walk
Assuming that the turtle activity and the weather both allow it, the turtle walk takes place right after the presentation. You go down to the beach as a group and see the various nests. You will also get a firsthand view of the ways the community protects the sea turtles. Your guide will point out things like the special lights at hotels. During the walk, you can watch the sea turtles make their way from the water to the shore and then back again. At the same time, you’ll get even more insight into what can affect their egg laying and their seasonal migration.
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There are multiple goals of these turtle walks. The Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau wants to teach people about the importance of sea turtles. George Gray says that to protect nesting turtles, we need education. In this way, the turtle walk is one of the best ways to provide that education while also giving visitors and locals of all ages a unique experience.
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