Launch - World Turtle Day - July 2018


Although the Aldabra tortoise is not endangered, it is currently considered “vulnerable” as many giant tortoise species are now extinct. (Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Join the ‘Shell-ebration’

by Scott Fais

The zoo and aquarium community came together on World Turtle Day, May 23, to raise awareness about turtles and tortoises. The American Tortoise Rescue organization established World Turtle Day in 2000 to bring global attention to the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Many IAAPA members shared their “#shellebration” on social media, resulting in positive engagements that connected with guests outside of the traditional visit.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

An Aldabra tortoise at the Florida park received special enrichment, while guests watched and played tortoise trivia. Although the Aldabra tortoise is not endangered, it is currently considered “vulnerable.”


Dean at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida, predates the park’s opening in 1949 by 33 years. The park celebrated the Aldabra tortoise, who weighs 500 pounds and is still crawling at 102 years old.  

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Using the hashtags “#flippersup for #WorldTurtleDay,” the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California used World Turtle Day to encourage social media followers to eliminate single-use plastic. 

San Diego Zoo

Facebook users were captivated with video of tortoises nibbling on strawberries.

Santa Barbara Zoo

Bringing attention to the plight of the Western pond turtle is a mission of the Santa Barbara Zoo. A California native, the turtle has seen its population numbers dwindle. 

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord

Opting to host a weeklong event, Sea Life Charlotte-Concord in North Carolina incentivized guests to forgo using plastic straws in return for discounts.

SeaWorld San Diego

Continuing its mantra of “Park to Planet,” SeaWorld San Diego shared several images of the SeaWorld Rescue Team releasing Eastern Pacific green sea turtles back into the ocean after their rehabilitation in professional care.