With more companies deciding to ditch plastic straws like Starbucks and American Airlines, the conservation effort is taking hold stronger than ever. This is great news for all marine critters and native wildlife living at sanctuaries across The Palm Beaches, FL, and even better news for the animal lovers who are eager to visit and learn about them!
Situated on 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean, Palm Beach County is the closest region in North America to the Gulf Stream current – considered an oceanic conveyor belt of warm water and an artery for marine life to migrate, such as sea-turtles (home to five of the seven species), tropical fish, sailfish, goliath grouper, dolphins and more amazing species.
Aside from its famous year-round sunshine and pristine beaches, The Palm Beaches is home to treasured animal sanctuaries and beautiful nature preserves, which offer plenty of educational experiences for visitors of all ages to come and learn about native species and their habitats.
Visit the sea turtle rehabilitation hospital at Loggerhead Marinelife Centre or check out Florida wildlife (including our native alligators) at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.
A few favourite educational wildlife attractions in The Palm Beaches:
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge – Boynton Beach, FL In this northern portion of the Everglades, paddle on a “river of grass” through native sawgrass marsh. This refuge is a local favorite for birding and for wildlife watching in a unique ecosystem.
The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to discover Florida’s native flora and fauna. Take to the nature trails, which wind through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and cypress wetlands. Along the way, spot alligators, eagles, bobcats, panthers and more as the center works to rehabilitate them back into the wild!
This cooperative project of the City of Boca Raton, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and Friends of Gumbo Limbo hosts valuable environmental programs for all ages, as well as sea turtle-themed activities and events. Programs include sea turtle summer camps, turtle walks, hatchling release observations and free outdoor marine feedings.
See more than 900 wild animals, such as lions, giraffes, zebras, ostrich and rhinos, in this South Florida Safari. Watch large free-roaming herds of animals from six continents from inside an enclosed vehicle. After taking the four-mile drive-through safari, explore Safari World Amusement Park with rides, animal shows, giraffe and bird encounters, a water sprayground with waterslides as well as dozens of animal exhibits.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is an ocean conservation organization and sea turtle hospital located adjacent to Juno Beach, one of the most densely nestled Loggerhead sea turtle nesting beaches in the world. The Center serves as a sea turtle rehabilitation hospital, with staff leading specialty tours to see these gentle giants coming to nest between April and October each year.
McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary – West Palm Beach, FL
McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary has treated hundreds of sick or injured native animals, including all species of animals from foxes to bobcats, Sandhill Cranes to pelicans, hawks, owls, and many others. After receiving medical care, these animals are released back into the wild whenever possible. There are over 170 permanent resident animals at the sanctuary, including 22 big cats. Guided tours of the Sanctuary are available by reservation only. Children must be age five and over.
The zoo houses over 1,400 animals from Florida, North, South and Central America, Australia, and Madagascar, within 23 acres of lush tropical habitat. See many exotic animals like anteaters, capybaras, aldabra tortoises and even an albino alligator.
Open your mind to science at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium with over 50 hands-on educational exhibits, an 8,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium, a digital planetarium, Conservation Research Station, Florida Exhibit Hall and an interactive Everglades Exhibit. Weekend programs, concerts and mini galaxy golf are also available for visitors of all ages.
Check out these special events happening this fall:
LagoonFest in West Palm Beach
This festival on Nov. 3 celebrates the local Lake Worth Lagoon and the multiple ways to appreciate its beauty. This free event in downtown West Palm Beach will include live music, wildlife presentations, a kayak team regatta, exhibitor booths, and children’s activities. Happening right next door is the West Palm Beach GreenMarket, featuring delicious foods, locally-grown seasonal fruits, and veggies.
Get the inside scoop on the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility. Last year, over 100 sea turtle patients were treated at Gumbo Limbo. Meet some of our current patients and hear their stories. Why are they here? What can you do to help? This free program is offered daily September-December.
This awe-inspiring interactive show featuring over 20 trained birds will give guests the opportunity to learn about the majestic and sometimes comical behaviors of birds from around the world. Shows take place on a floating stage on Baker Lake in the heart of the zoo. Shows are offered daily.