Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
The Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle is the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world.
Every summer, the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle recovery project at Padre Island National Seashore releases hundreds of these baby sea turtles to the ocean. And it is quite an experience. If you get the chance you should take your kids.
This event takes place at sunrise.
The beach is magical at sunrise and it makes it feel like a big adventure. After hatching, the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle heads towards the sun in the early mornings rather than like other sea turtles who head towards the light of the moon at night.
The releases are unpredictable. The park cannot regularly schedule or guarantee the public release because sometimes the turtles are ready ahead of schedule. I had to check their FB page around 2AM to make sure it was still on for that day. The baby turtles only have so much energy to get to the ocean and if their behavior changes and their ready to go, then they let them go no matter what time it is.
This makes it feel more precious.
We followed about a hundred other visitors to the park down to the beach. We stood around a roped off area as the turtles were set onto the sand. The Kemp’s Ridley is one of the smallest sea turtles in the world, but those tiny babies slowly made their way to the water as we looked on. Their was a team of park employees and volunteers holding large nets over the hatchlings to protect them from birds searching for breakfast.
This was so much fun for our kiddos. Here is a link to find out more about the hatchling releases at Padre Island.
Little Shell Beach
Not far from the visitor’s center is another great spot, Little Shell Beach. The kids found all kinds of things to look at. There is an abundance of Coquina Clams at this beach in every color you can imagine. It’s almost like the ground is moving there are so many. When the water hits these tiny mollusks they begin to burrow down in the sand. The kids couldn’t get enough of watching them.
We also spent time in the ocean, enjoying the creatures we encountered, and the incredible scenery.
Padre Island National Seashore protects the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the world!
There is still so much for us to explore at this park and we will be able to get in free all summer because of the
Every Kid in a Park Pass, if you haven’t heard about this pass you should check it out.
The pass allows a 4th grader and their family into national parks across the country for free!
I plan to add more posts on places to check out at this great park as we discover new can’t miss stops.
Thanks for reading,