SeaWorld San Diego Reopens Newly Enhanced And Upgraded Sea Turtle Habitat

SeaWorld San Diego has introduced a newly enhanced and upgraded Turtle Reef™, an environmental habitat to sea turtles including Bruce, a rescued and non-releasable green sea turtle, that all receive SeaWorld’s world-class animal care and expertise.

The habitat had been closed since October 2021 for enhancements and upgrades and recently reopened to the public.  The sea turtles are among more than 250 different species of animals at SeaWorld San Diego, an accredited zoological facility, that guests can see while at the park.

What’s new

Eight new skylights were added to allow natural sunlight to filter in over the animals in addition to a new large and now seamless main viewing window.

Additional species of tropical fish are currently being added to the habitat.

Flooring throughout the guest viewing areas has been enhanced and repainted, along with the addition of new themed rocks, and additional air conditioning ducts, to improve the guest experience as they move through the area.

Guests can now get an up-close look at resident turtles in San Diego that include threatened green and loggerhead sea turtles, and endangered hawksbill sea turtles.

Turtle Talks

As part of Turtle Reef’s opening and SeaWorld’s commitment to education and conservation efforts, SeaWorld will host daily Turtle Talks starting on April 23 with an animal educator who will share sea turtle stats and facts, rescue and unique stories of species in the habitat, plus answer questions to inquiring guests about the species and their environment. Turtle Talk times are subject to change and guests are encouraged to visit the daily park schedule on the website.

“Sea turtles play an important role in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems including, among other things, maintaining healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs, but sadly every species is currently threatened or endangered,” said Eric Otjen, Curator of Zoological Operations and Animal Rescue at SeaWorld San Diego.

“Through combining education with world class animal care and permanent homes for sea turtles that cannot be returned to the wild ocean, SeaWorld is furthering its conservation mission to protect marine animals and their habitats.”

Inspiring the Next Generation of Conservationists

SeaWorld’s turtle habitats offer interactive experiences for guests or all ages where they can learn about sea turtle nesting, where turtles live, what they eat, and the threats that lead to six of the seven species of sea turtles found in the world being classified as threatened or endangered.

Educational games also teach players the importance of sea turtle conservation with elements and challenges designed to highlight various threats to turtle species, including predatory ocean animals and human-caused pollution.

For example:

TurtleLink – A touch-screen map of the globe that enables guests to track real live sea turtles in oceans all over the world. When guests touch a turtle on the digital map, the map displays information, photos and even video footage of turtles being returned into the ocean.

Race to the Beach – Interactive family friendly video game, Race to the Beach, enables guests to select a hand-held controller in the shape of a sea turtle and guide the journey of their animal to the Baja Peninsula to lay eggs, while navigating manmade and natural challenges that the turtles face in the wild.

Each controller is tied to a specific species of turtle and recreates their trek including the unique things each turtle species eats. The game helps players better understand the migration and challenges that sea turtles face in the wild. This is the first interactive educational activity in SeaWorld parks using gamification.

Ensuring Every Sea Turtle Thrives

Providing world-class animal care is a top priority for SeaWorld. Animal care specialists and veterinarians observe and assess behavior and check the physical health of each animal. This includes inspecting flipper and shell conditions and scrubbing shells to remove algae. In-depth health assessments are performed with physical examinations that track changes in weight and size and through bloodwork to check for overall system health.

Animal care specialists utilize color-coded targets to engage the animals mentally, help separate turtles from each other during feeds to monitor and ensure they are receiving the proper diet, and help in the movement of turtles for physical exams. In addition to thorough health exams, SeaWorld provides specialized care for sea turtles with unique health conditions.

Purchase with a Purpose to Support Conservation Efforts

After viewing the sea turtles in their habitat and learning more about the species, guests can visit the newly remodeled Turtle Reef gift store to shop for new merchandise and arrivals. Only available at the park for purchase, guests can choose from a new line of SeaWorld Rescue items including collector SeaWorld Rescue doll sets and playsets, apparel, turtle plush and more.

Pass Holders Can Enjoy the Sea Turtle Experience All Year Long

The best way to see marine animals up close, including sea turtles, and learn more about their conservation through hands-on learning and interactive experiences is to become a SeaWorld Pass Holder. Annual passes start as low as $12.50/month and include unlimited visits, seasonal events, and exclusive rewards. Plus, special monthly discounts, offers and rewards throughout the year. 

A portion of every purchase of every annual pass goes toward SeaWorld’s rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

More info

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit here. Follow SeaWorld on Facebook and Instagram for the latest announcements and information.

See you there, San Diego!