We recently went to the Tour De Turtles at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. We did receive our stay in exchange for this post. That said, everything I have to say is not influenced by the stay that was provided. Instead, I am excited to share so much of what we learned at the Tour De Turtles. I will also share a fun sea turtle craft that would be great for a sea turtle lesson or a class art project.
What we learned at the Tour De Turtles at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Disnery’s Vero Beach Resort had some incredible interactive exhibits for kids to walk through as they waited for the return of Sally and Cruz to the ocean for the Tour De Turtles. If you want to follow along with Sally and Cruz’s migration you can go to Tour De Turtles to see where they are. I believe these trackers go live August 1st so you may need to wait a day.
Captain Ron and Dory find Sea Turtle Nests
I told you all about Captain Ron when we visited Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival but he now has a partner to help him out. Captain Ron and Dory walk the beach near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort looking for sea turtle nests. When they find these nests the amazing people that work with Disney are able to mark these sea turtle nests to protect them from interference by resort guests as well as track when the nest was laid and when it should hatch. This information helps them to keep a read on how well the turtles are doing.
One of the things that I find most exciting about Dory is the fact that she is a rescue dog. They took the time to train her and use her abundance of energy to help sea turtles.
Animal Experts Track Nest Productivity
As mentioned in the video above, animal experts will unearth a nest when there are signs such a tracks and a divet in the pile to indicate the baby sea turtles have left the nest. When they unearth the nests they are checking for how many eggs hatched and how many never did. I let my daughter record the video above so it may be shaky and far from perfect. However, I wanted to let you see what they did and hear directly from the people who were unearthing the nest.
There are Sea Turtle Friendly Fishing Nets
Many sea turtles have lost their lives to accidents with fishing nets. New fishing nets are being designed to let sea turtles swim out of the nest while letting fish swim through the white game to be trapped. This will decrease the threat to sea turtles by fishermen. The kids actually walked through the nest and exited it which made them smile. If you wanted to do a fun stem challenge, it might be fun to challenge kids to create a sea turtle friendly net of their own.
Simple Changes Can Help Sea Turtles
Did you know that plastic grocery bags look just like jellyfish to sea turtles? What about the fact that plastic straws can get stuck in their noses? Did you know that taking bright flashlights down by the beach at night can prevent a baby sea turtle from making it to the ocean? These are all true. We spent some time learning about some of these items and how we can protect sea turtles. A few simple ways that you can help sea turtles is by using reusable grocery bags, avoiding plastic straws at the beach, and using sea turtle friendly flashlights at night on the beach.
Plastic can be a huge hazard to Sea Turtles
I mentioned plastic bags above but there are many types of plastic that can be hazardous to sea turtles. This would be a really fun project for a home study or a classroom. They wrapped the stuffed sea turtle in plastic bags, pieces of plastic, and old soda rings. Then they challenged the children to use the bulky gloves to remove all the plastic gently. Because sea turtles have flippers they can’t easily remove these items. It was a great way to show kids how damaging this plastic can be.
Sea Turtles eat anything
Sea turtles will eat things that look like food to them. This can be dangerous because things like balloons and plastic bags can look like food to them. In order to illustrate this the children had to use chopsticks to move these small beans into a bowl. Once you looked at the bowl, you could see that some of the beans had dots on them. Dots of one color meant safe food while dots of another meant dangerous food. My daughter was surprised at how much was unsafe because she couldn’t discern one from the other when she was pulling it from side to side.
The Sea Turtles released were from this beach
When I agreed to attend this event I had no idea that the sea turtles were from this beach. I thought maybe they were turtles from a conservation. Instead, these were 2 mommas who came up to the beach to nest the night before. Their shells were shined up and they were released the next day with trackers at the event. You will be able to track their migration after laying eggs and returning to the ocean. I think I am on team Cruz. What about you?
Would you like to see the release?
I live streamed the release on the day that we were there. My phone reception was spotty for small portions of the video so there will be a few spots that aren’t as easy to see. I hope you enjoy it. Make sure to follow me on Facebook as I plan to go live with some other great stuff coming very soon.
Tour De Turtles Sea Turtle Craft
The kids had so much fun at the Tour De Turtles at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort that they wanted to come home and do a craft to celebrate all they learned. I will never turn down crafting if I can avoid it. I’m going to walk you through the steps for each painting so that your kids can create it as part of a lesson or so you can use it in a co-op or class setting. We picked up all the supplies we needed at the dollar store.
You will need:
Foam paint brush – Small
White Canvas – The dollar store had a 3 pack but you can use any canvas you want.
Red Paint (Only for jellyfish painting)
Start by painting the bottom half of your canvas yellow.
Use your blue paint to create the ocean. I would use half of the remaining white canvas for this part.
Mix blue and white paint and use it to paint the sky portion of your project.
Using white paint you will make little clouds in the sky. Let the kids have creative freedom with this portion and you might see some fun cloud designs.
Use a pencil to draw out a sand castle on the beach.
Once you are happy with your sand castle, use your sharpie to trace your drawing. (If you are working with younger kids you may want to draw this for them in pencil or use a sand castle stamp.)
Using pencil draw in your sea turtles. Keep this as simple or as complex as you want your sea turtles to be. I only added three to the bottom corner.
Once you are happy with your sea turtles, use sharpie to trace your pencil drawing.
Use pencil to write, “Building Sandcastles is fun but not as much as Knocking them Down!” on your canvas.
You can then use sharpie to trace the words.
This painting is great for reminding kids to knock down their sandcastles when they leave the beach in a fun way. Sandcastles are an unnecessary obstacle for baby sea turtles who are trying to make it to the ocean.
For the night sky painting you will mix black and white to make a grey for your sky. Instead of using the baby blue from the sandcastle picture you will use the grey to make your sky. You can also use black if you want more of a night sky.
Using your paintbrush and white paint you can make a circle in the sky for the moon and small white dots to represent the stars.
Draw your sea turtles on the yellow portion using pencil first and then outlining them in sharpie. You can leave them as is or use green paint to fill them in.
Make sure to add tracks behind the turtles to show their movement to the ocean.
This painting would be great as part of a lesson on why we must turn the lights off near the beach. You can talk about the fact that sea turtles use the moon to navigate to the ocean and other lights can be a distraction.
Start by painting your canvas the blue you want to represent the ocean.
Next, you will use a pencil to outline the turtle and the jellyfish.
From here, challenge your artists to fill in the outlines to finish the painting.
This would go well with a section focused on what sea turtles eat and what is unsafe for them to eat.
Would you go to the Tour De Turtles at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort?
I know that I would go back every year if I could. It was an amazing event filled with countless learning opportunities. It might be time to plan your next Disney trip around next year’s Tour De Turtles so that you can visit Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and enjoy this amazing event!