Sea Turtle Camp, Wilmington

#3 of 7 in Parks in Wilmington
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55 reviews
  • August 1, 2017
    My 12 year old daughter had an awesome first sleep away camp experience. Tons of fun in the sun and a good intro to marine biology. She will be back next year for Sea Turtle camp!  more »
  • July 24, 2017
    My daughter is a rising HS Senior and has been interested in Marine Science since she could walk. She will be applying to colleges this fall, and as we narrowed her search and visited many colleges/un...  more »
  • July 22, 2017
    My sixteen year old daughter had a great experience at this camp. She loved the well-planned activities and the chance to learn firsthand about sea turtles. A highlight was an impromptu nighttime run ...  more »
  • March 20, 2016
    Sea Turtle Camp has been the highlight of my summer, for two, soon to be three years. Sea turtles and marine biology have always been what I want to devote my life to, so to be able to go to a place surrounded by people who share and respect my love for the ocean is extraordinary. My favorite Sea Turtle Camp memory is vividly deep-seated in my mind. The first year I attended Camp, I saw a momma turtle lay her eggs. At the apartments, we got the call at midnight that she was coming up the beach. All campers and counselors were in the van in four minutes. I remember throwing on dark colored clothes, my nearest shoes, and racing down the hallway, down the stairs, across the street and into the van. When we got to the beach, we watched in silence as she pulled herself up out of the surf and began to dig a hole in the sand. The only noise was the rustling earth and the crashing waves in the dead of night. As I watched, I was emotionally moved, tears streaming down my face as the one thing I was truly passionate about was right in front of me. I didn’t care that it was midnight. I didn’t care that my hair looked like a rat’s nest on top of my head. I didn’t care that my toe was bleeding from tripping up the beach-access stairs. The only thing I cared about, in that moment and forever, is that the turtle laying her eggs-and every turtle after her-was and will be safe, cared for and protected. This experience was single handedly the most life-changing event I’ve participated in. It proved to myself that this is what I was born to do, and although people have told me many things that can go wrong with a marine biology major, it is what I will study in college, as well as dedicate my life to. I cannot even begin to thank Sea Turtle Camp for giving me exposure to the wonderful world of Sea Turtle Conservation.
  • March 14, 2016
    I love sea turtles just as much as the next future marine biologist, or environmentalist may. The thing for me is, I’m from Minnesota so I don’t have a lot of opportunities to study the sea on a regular basis without resorting to google or a documentary. At Sea Turtle Camp, it was a different story for me. All of the amazing creatures that I had read about online, and that made me gasp in awe while on vacations were only miles away from me. One morning my camp counselor, Lauren, woke everyone up early and told us we were going to check out a sea turtle nest that was just about to be marked! I got to see what sea turtle eggs were really like, and even see the whole process behind helping protect them! Later that day I got to get some volunteer hours in, while also being able to help out at a pretty amazing turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. That’s where I met the first sea turtle that I can say without a doubt captured my heart. His name was Alvin. Working with each of the patients at the center was a special experience, but working with Alvin every time we visited was my favorite thing about the hospital. I loved him the most because when all the other sea turtles would flap and freak out if an intern or volunteer tried to do something with them, Alvin would just act so chill and relaxed. He had a personality like my lazy dog back home, Blaze, and it just made him so much cuter. It’s funny how when you are so far from home, something like a sweet unknowing turtle can be what reminds you of all the little things you’ve been missing. Taking a trip so far from home was completley worth it! Going to North Carolina taught me so much about sea turtles, my dreams for the future, and myself. After returning home from my awesome adventure at camp, I will truly never forget Alvin and my greatest ocean memories yet!
  • March 18, 2016
    On our first day I remember sitting down with the rest of the new campers, all awkward and brimming with nervous excitement. Then one of the campers started talking about why we were there: we all loved the ocean, and we wanted to learn how to care for the creatures in it. By the end of that night we already had begun a great friendship. Our counselors shared stories of their experiences that inspired envy and admiration in the the campers. They were friendly and thoughtful, quick to offer helpful advice to campers struggling with a difficult high school or the anatomy of a loggerhead. One of my favorite memories was volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and working alongside hospital interns that had attended the very same camp as me just a few years previous. We saw first-hand what it takes to run a wild animal hospital and what it takes to nurse a sick sea turtle back to the wild. Every sea turtle experience was enchanting, bonding with a turtle by learning about their injury, recovery, personality, and how the hospital was helping them was moving. I even got to administer medicine to a sea turtle’s carapace! Later in the week we were able to listen to perhaps the most illuminating and exciting lecture I’ve ever heard. All of the campers were gathered into UNCW classroom and listened to a professor speak passionately about plastics in our ocean. The professor detailed how plastic enters our oceans and upsets things on a very big scale. Everyone in that class, I included, walked off of campus with a new role model. The most fun I had that week was learning to surf and find the thrill of catching a wave. Being out on a board over clear, warm water surrounded by a great view and even better friends gave me a strong sense of contentment. Campers bonded over the ocean and ice-cream cones, a year later we’re still close friends. Sea Turtle Camp was a good time- rich in knowledge and in friendship.
  • March 7, 2016
    My favorite experience at Sea Turtle Camp was the first time we went to the salt marsh. It was a lovely day - sunny, slight breeze - and low tide so we could clearly see the bottom. I had never done something like that and I was very excited about the prospect of catching crabs and observing marine life. We were all walking around in the marsh, holding little nets and enjoying the feel of the cool water lapping against our ankles. The first time someone caught a blue crab we all crowded around and observed it while our counselors told us how to identify its gender and hold it so it wouldn't pinch us. It was very educational but simultaneously extremely fun. I caught many crabs myself that morning, and at one point I spotted a huge male blue crab. I lunged at it but it scurried away, kicking up a cloud of mud and sand in the process. I continued to pursue it but it always escaped. At one point, unbeknownst to me, it buried itself into the mixture of mud and sand on the bottom of the marsh instead of darting away. As I crept through the water, trying to catch sight of it, I stepped right next to it! It reached up one of its massive claws and latched onto my ankle with no intention of letting go. I shrieked as pain shot up my leg and started hopping around trying to get the crab to let go. The counselors came running over and we managed to get the crab into a net and off my ankle. There was blood coming from a small cut where he had pinched me but it wasn’t too bad. He was one of the largest crabs we had ever seen and he was feisty too! We let him go but not before we got pictures of me holding him up and grinning proudly. It was one of the coolest, most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had, albeit painful, and I will cherish it forever.
  • March 8, 2016
    The summer of 2015 I made my first trip to Sea Turtle Camp. I was so nervous but very excited at the same time. On the second day of camp we visited the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. When we got to the hospital, we took a tour and were assigned our groups. I was assigned to mop first but that meant I would get to clean the turtle’s tanks. They showed me how to use the brush and how to get all of the food out of their tanks. While we were cleaning, the staff wanted us to be with a volunteer. Later, a different volunteer pulled me aside and let me clean a little juvenile green sea turtle’s tank. I learned that this adorable little turtle’s name was Valor. I was excited to be able to clean her tank on my own. As I was guiding the net and brush Valor continued to bump the brush. A few minutes later the volunteer came back and told me I could pet her. At the time I didn’t even realize that turtles liked to be rubbed. I started to pet her shell and her little fins would start flapping up and down in the water. Later that week I came to feed her and she came straight up to me and her fins flapped again. Every time I came over to her tank she would come to the surface. I was so amazed that I had connected with a turtle just as Ms. Jean said I would. Later I learned that Valor could not be released due to a air pocket in her shell that makes her float. I wish that she could be released but I know that my favorite turtle will be able to touch other people as she did me. I can’t wait to visit her and the hospital again this summer.

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