Key West’s new Turtle Museum opened this past weekend at the historic seaport. Representatives from the Marathon Turtle Hospital, Mel Fisher Museum and Florida Wildlife Commission were on hand, as well as a one-year old Loggerhead turtle named ‘Scooter,’ to mark the occasion. Visitors and locals were all able to take in the rich history of the turtle industry and learn about turtle conservation. The Key West Weekly talked to one mom from Ohio spending her last vacation day at the opening with her daughter Grace.
“I found it very interesting and fascinating,” remarked May Rose Bashsa of Peninsula, Ohio. “I didn’t realize there was that much turtle harvesting or that much of a demand. I don’t think we’d have a turtle population if they’d continued.”
Austin & Grace
Key West’s two-year old Austin Stotts of Key West (right) and Grace Bashsa of Peninsula, Ohio (left) check out and try to photograph ‘Scooter’ at the new Turtle Museum.
Sue & Richie
FWC’s Sue Schaf and Richie Moretti of the Marathon Turtle Hospital. “This is great to show the history,” Schaf said. “The interest is here.”
Corey Malcom, Director of Archaeology with two-year old Austin Stotts and six-year old Landon Stotts. “I’m the guy that digs up all these turtle bones you see here!” Corey explained his role.
Antique, tourism brochures give museum goers insight to the turtle industry that once enthralled vacationers at Key West’s seaport before the industry was given orders to cease operations in the 1970s by the state government.
Scooter the one-year old Loggerhead turtle, rescued from a canal last year in Key Largo, made an appearance in a kiddie pool. Scooter is the Marathon Turtle Hospital’s education turtle.
Andy Dobrowolski, rehabilitation specialist, showed Scooter to the Weekly Newspapers cameras.