If you live in Jupiter, Jupiter Island or Juno Beach check out The Loggerhead Marinelife Center, it’s a non-profit education and ocean conservation facility located on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County, Florida. The center specializes in a variety of exhibits, live sea turtles and other coastal creatures which include a massive prehistoric Archelon sea turtle replica, saltwater aquarium and displays of local wildlife, as well as educational displays about South Florida's marine environment.
More than ten years ago in 2007 the organization relocated to a new 12,000 square foot certified "green" facility located in Juno and changed its name from “The Marinelife Center of Juno Beach” to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. The new facility includes a state-of-the-art full-service veterinary hospital, exhibit hall, outdoor classroom, research lab, and resource center. A visit is not complete without a stop in the marine-themed gift store, featuring an excellent selection of children's educational books and unique gift and craft items. Park amenities include a guarded beach, nature trail, playground, and picnic pavilions.
History of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center
ver 30 years ago, long-time Juno Beach resident Eleanor Fletcher started what is now Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Eleanor and her husband Robert had a real estate business in Juno Beach. Eleanor began to notice the abundance of sea turtles nesting on our shore in spring and summer. She was curious about why so many hatchlings headed landward after hatching, rather than back to sea, and as a result, began some of the earliest research on sea turtles in our area. Juno Beach is now recognized as one of the most active nesting beaches in the world! Eleanor became known as “The Turtle Lady” throughout the area.
As Eleanor Fletcher learned more and more about the sea turtles, she began to see that the turtles were threatened by the encroachment of man as he moved and built closer and closer to the shoreline. She decided that educating children about sea turtles and the need for conservation and protection was the best hope for the sea turtles to survive over the long term. She began giving classes, first in her home, then above the real estate office as more and more children enjoyed her programs.
In 1983 the Children’s Museum of Juno Beach was incorporated, moving into what had been an old home in Loggerhead Park, thanks to the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Reflecting an expanded mission, the name was changed to The Marinelife Center of Juno Beach in 1990.
The Loggerhead Marinelife Center Today
The center now hosts thousands of school children each year through field trips, outreach programs, summer camp, and other educational experiences. In addition, more than 350,000 visitors come to the center each year to see the exhibits and the sea turtle hospital – the only sea turtle hospital between Orlando and the Florida Keys!