The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island is a sea turtle education and sea turtle rehabilitation facility that's open to visitors! This must-stop attraction on the island is perfect for kids and adults who want to learn more about fascinating turtles. This guide to visiting the center shares everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Visitors Guide
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island is a working rehabilitation, research, and educational facility that's open to the public to explore. That includes their fascinating sea turtle hospital where they rescue and care for injured sea turtles. If you are a fan of turtles or interested in them you will adore this spot. Even if you just love ocean life and nature, this wonderfully done attraction is interesting to explore for guests of all ages.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center was founded in 2007 and since then has focused on caring for and rescuing injured sea turtles in the area. The location is an actual functioning hospital and the only of its kind in Georgia. In addition to that mission, they also educate folks about sea turtles and protecting them. They have year-round indoor and outdoor programs. It's Georgia's first sea turtle rehabilitation center offering state-of-the-art emergency care.
The center itself is a small attraction taking 1-2 hours to explore while on Jekyll Island. It's in the historic district on the island so while visiting you can also see the Jekyll Club Resort, Jekyll Island Historic District, and the Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum. There is a trolly tour of the entire area. You can also explore the nearby Driftwood Beach.
Highlights of visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center include a fun kids' interactive area, an educational room, an adorable gift shop, and of course, the Sea Turtle Hospital itself where you can visit and view the sea turtles they are actually caring for. It's a well-done museum that's worth the time to visit whether you are staying on Jekyll Island or nearby St. Simons Island.
Here's everything you'll need to know to plan your visit!Georgia Sea Turtle Center Visitors Guide Click To Tweet
- The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island is located directly on Jekyll Island, just off the southern coast of Georgia, in the historic district. The historic district is mid-island on the western side along the Jekyll River. Once on the island turn left on Riverview Drive. Turn right at the 3-way stop on Stable Road and drive past the Mosaic Museum. Turn left into the main building parking lot.
- The island itself is owned by the state of Georgia and is a state park.
- You have to pay a fee to get on the island, which is an $8 daily parking pass.
- There is plenty of parking adjacent to the building.
- The center is located at 214 Stable Road, Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Logistics for Visiting Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island:
- Hours of Operation: They are open daily from 9-5 with year-round indoor and outdoor activities. They are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
- Cost: It's $10 for adults, $8 for kids 4-12, and $9 for seniors. Kids under 4 are free.
- Funding: All proceeds help support the operational costs of the hospital and the rehabilitation of the turtles.
- Timing: You'll need 1-2 hours to fully explore the exhibits, and adorable gift shop and see the turtles.
- Getting Around: It's a smaller place so we didn't bring a stroller, but if you need to you can. You'll probably need to leave it outside of the actual sea turtle hospital.
- Events: There are daily programs and events including sea turtle releases and turtle school, so check their event calendar before you go.
Top Things to Do at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island
Explore the Educational Exhibits
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island did a wonderful job with their educational exhibits that are before you walk into the sea turtle hospital. They are a host of interactive for kids, but also interesting enough for adults to follow.
Kids can get a Sea Turtle Journal where they get a stamp for each experience they complete.
Kids can do some playing and learning at the same time, which is perfect for little minds.
Attend a Meet and Greet
As part of the experience and educational efforts at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island, the staff periodically brings out different types of turtles for kids and adults to meet and see up close.
We got to meet this cute guy on our visit! Hes' a Diamondback Terrapin which is a unique turtle found in the area and one often seen on the causeway. They are one of the only turtles known to spend their entire lives in brackish water.
See the Sea Turtle Hosptial
The highlight of visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is visiting the Sea Turtle Hospital and rehabilitation pavilion where veterinarians actually bring and care for injured sea turtles. You can see the turtle patients.
You can read about the different turtles, learn their stories and find out how they are getting cared for. Many of the turtles are released back into he wild after getting cared for.
See the Box Turtles
Another cute spot to explore at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is the box turtle exhibit.
We loved getting a close-up view of this guy.
Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center's Gift Shop
And your final stop at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is the gift shop. It's actually an adorable spot to purchase anything and everything sea turtle related and if you are a lover of beach life, it's hard to miss. It's a lot more than just shirts.
You can also adopt an actual sea turtle or a stuffed one.
Our boys picked out this adorable sea turtle doctor's kit, which was a highlight of the visit for them. Proceeds go back to the hospital, so we felt good about the purchase too.
Other Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island Activities
Here are some other amazing more interactive activities that are available to Georgia Sea Turtle Center visitors. All of these require more time and planning than just visiting the center, but are incredibly interesting ways to learn more about turtles.
- Behind the Scenes Tour: A semi-private 45-minute tour of the staff-only areas in the hospital. You must sign up in advance and it's only for kids 10 and up. Buy tickets ahead of arrival, here.
- Sunrise Turtle Walk: Offered during nesting season, this sunrise walk takes participants on the beach to learn about the basics of turtle nesting and hatching. Kids must be 6 and up and you need to sign up in advance. Tickets are $32. Buy your tickets here.
- Ride with Dawn Patrol: A unique opportunity to see what it's like to be a sea turtle field biologist with nest monitoring. Also offered just during nesting season. Kids must be 6 years old and you'll need to sign up in advance here.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island is a Must-See Attraction
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Jekyll Island is a must-see attraction while on Jekyll Island! We loved our visit and the kids still talk about sea turtles. When they are older we can't wait to try one of the more interactive activities like a sunrise sea turtle walk or turtle release.
To learn more about the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, check out their website.
If you are planning your trip to Jekyll Island start with the center and check out the rest of my guide to the Top 15 Things to Do on Jekyll Island. This wonderful island is the perfect spot for an old-fashioned family vacation. Don't miss my complete planning guide for your trip below.
More Jekyll Island Travel Infromation:
- Top 15 Things to Do on Jekyll Island
- Jekyll Island Restaurant Guide
- Driftwood Beach Visitors Guide
- Top 15 Moments Jekyll Island Family Vacation
Georgia Sea Turtle Center Visitors Guide Click To Tweet
Travel Guides for Nearby Islands:
- St Simons Island Travel Guide
- Kiawah Island Travel Guide
- Isle of Palms & Wild Dunes Travel Guide
- Hilton Head Travel Guide
- Amelia Island Travel Guide
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