LA JOLLA — Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its rescued loggerhead sea turtle’s arrival with a Turtleversary from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 11 and Jan. 12.
The family-friendly “shell-ebration” will be a weekend of sea turtle-themed activities, crafts and marine reptile science. Guests are encouraged to get hands-on with sea turtle biofacts, learn about local sea turtle research, and get an insider’s look at how the aquarium’s sea turtle is target trained and cared for. The Loggerhead’s story of perseverance, and the technological advances made to ensure her continued survival, inspired people from around the world.
“Our collaborations with our colleagues have inspired students and researchers alike,” said Jennifer Nero Moffatt, the aquarium’s senior director of animal care, science and conservation. “Sea turtles hold a special place in our hearts and need our protection; all seven species in danger from numerous environmental impacts. Our guests are able to get close to our Loggerhead Sea Turtle and feel a sense of wonder for our ocean planet.”
Birch Aquarium’s female Loggerhead Sea Turtle was found injured and sick in a power plant outflow canal in New Jersey. After rescue, she was nursed back to health at South Carolina Aquarium and was deemed non-releasable as the medical teams believed she would not survive on her own. Birch Aquarium took in the sea turtle November 2014, and she was revealed to the public in January 2015. Since then she has grown significantly and now weighs 215 pounds.
Birch Aquarium’s turtle made international news in 2018 for the 3D-printed prosthetic that fits like a puzzle piece into her shell. This groundbreaking brace was the first of its kind for a sea turtle shell, and has now successfully mitigated any abnormal shell growth.
All Turtleversary activities are included in admission, which is $19.50 for adults, $15 for children ages 3 to 17. Children 2 and under are free. Annual memberships are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit aquarium.ucsd.edu or call (858) 534-FISH.