If you’re into ecology you’ll really enjoy the many eco-friendly spots around South Padre Island! There is so much wildlife and nature around our island that you want to be sure not to miss any of it while you’re staying with us at Padre Getaways.
Sea Turtle Inc.
In 1977 the “Turtle Lady of South Padre Island,” Ila Loetscher, started taking in sick and injured sea turtles. She launched a movement that has saved thousands of turtles of turtles over the years. While Loetscher is gone now, the center carries on her mission of rehabilitation, conservation and public education.
One of the rarest reptiles on earth can be found right here on the beaches of South Padre Island. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles lay their eggs between April and August. Each year crews from Sea Turtle, Inc., set out on foot and all-terrain vehicles to look for nesting mothers. When they find them they wait for the mother to leave the nest for good and head back out to sea. Crews will then carefully dig up hundreds of ping-pong ball shaped eggs, load them into Styrofoam ice coolers, and take them to headquarters where the eggs are counted and recorded.
Afterwards the eggs are taken back to the beach where they’re buried inside a protected corral on the beach. This keeps the eggs safely away from the prying teeth of the island’s resident badgers and coyotes. An estimated one in 300 will make it to adulthood.
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; 6617 Padre Blvd.; 956-761-4511; seaturtleinc.org. Suggested donation of $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children.
This is just one highlight of what to expect on an eco-themed trip to South Padre Island, where you can also explore a birding center, take an eco-tour boat ride or learn about the impact of pollution at a marine research lab.
For a vacation that you’ll never forget, whose focus is on ecology, be sure to visit the following local businesses:
South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
Walk more than half a mile along a boardwalk over the wetlands, watching ducks fledge, fish spawn, butterflies flutter by and exotic-looking birds make an appearance. Then climb the five-story observation tower for a bird’s-eye view of the bay. Bring your camera!
Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; 6801 Padre Blvd.; 956-761-6801; spibirding.com. Admission: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 4 to 12.
Board the Getaway at Sea Ranch Marina and head out to the bay, where the crew drags a net behind the boat. The booty during an average day may include squid, small butterfly ray, blue crab, starfish, flounder and plenty of slimy-looking sea slugs called Spanish dancer. Because approximately 200 dolphins call this bay home, you’re sure to enjoy seeing them as well.
Tours take place at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily; 33384 State Park Road 100 (Padre Boulevard); 956-761-2212; breakawaycruises.com. Cost: $18 for adults, $16 for children.