Want a unique Corpus Christi experience? Wake up early, and make way to a Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchling release at the Padre Island National Seashore this summer. Every year, thousands of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles are nested and hatched in Corpus Christi...then thousands are released into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Here's everything you need to know about going to the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle release.
Call the Sea Turtle Hotline
Sea turtle releases are unpredictable. When those Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are ready to go, they are ready to go. Call the Hatchling Hotline at 361-949-7163 for the latest information on a sea turtle release or continuously check the PINS Facebook page to see if there is a release happening soon. Plan a vacation over several days to ensure better chances at catching a release.
Wake Up Before the Sun Rises
Public Kemps ridley sea turtle releases take place at the Padre Island National Seashore any time from mid-June to August at 6:45 a.m. Arrive before the sunrise to watch the sea turtles take the journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The views of the sunrise along the Corpus Christi Padre Island National Seashore It’s totally worth it!
Don't Wear White Clothing
We want the new turtles to go into the Gulf...anything white can distract them. White clothing or shoes can confuse them as the baby turtles are looking for the sun and white foam on the water. Don't wear anything white so we can make sure the turtles get out to the water.
Cameras, This is a No-flash Zone
Bright white lights from your camera or phone can also distract the hatchlings. Turn off all your flashes before heading to the release.
Shuffle Your Feet
Kemp's ridley sea turtles are so small, it’s easy for them to get lost on their way to the Gulf of Mexico, which is why it is so important to keep them safe. On the sand or in the water, try to keep your feet planted or shuffle your feet as you move. You're also helping keep creatures and predators away from the hatchlings!
Get Up Close and Personal
The park rangers will bring baby Kemp's ridley sea turtles for you to see before they begin their journeys out on the Gulf of Mexico. While you won't be able to touch the turtle, you'll still get a good look at hundreds making their way on the beach and into the water.
Bring Your Camera
Most importantly, bring your camera (without the flash) for capturing the memories made in Corpus Christi! You can also capture beautiful sea turtle photography with the sunrise on the water.
The National Park Service releases these adorable baby turtles throughout the summer season in Corpus Christi. The early rise will be worth it once you're on the beach. Get more detailed information from the Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Avoid the Red Markers!
During the summer, you may notice reflective lollipop stakes in the sand near the dunes. These red markers serve a fundamental purpose in protecting Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) and their nests. Since the turtles and their nests are difficult to see, biologists use these reflectors and flagging tape to mark their locations to avoid them being crushed by vehicles on the beach. By making these delicate areas more visible, these markers ensure that drivers steer clear of them.
It is imperative that the reflectors remain undisturbed until the biologists remove them once the nest has been recovered. If you witness someone tampering with the reflectors, sea turtle nests, or eggs, act quickly and report the incident by calling 1-866-TURTLE-5 or notify any park official in the vicinity.