Turtley awesome: Best places to see turtles this World Turtle Day
Turtle or tortoise? If like me you’re not exactly sure what the difference between the two is, then what better time to learn than World Turtle Day? Turtles are aquatic, meaning they mostly live in, or near, water. With webbed feet or flippers, they’re perfectly adapted to spending lots of time underwater, and only visit land to lay their eggs, whereas tortoises spend all their time on land!
Big or small, freshwater or sea, here’s our guide to the best places to see a range of turtle species across the UK:
Aptly named one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, The Deep is home to over 5,000 animals through a range of exciting zones. Experience life in the Cool Seas, or get chills visiting the very important penguins in the Kingdom of Ice, but this Turtle Day, The Deep’s new Loggerhead sea turtles are the star of the show. That’s not all, this May half-term there’s a variety of activities to keep little flippers flapping like daily dive shows, presentations and a ‘Turtle Terrors’ trail. Just don’t miss the face painting station where kids can be done up as amazing deep sea beastie!
Found on Bournemouth’s seafront, Oceanarium is the perfect place to explore creatures living in and amongst the waves. The two Loggerhead turtle sisters are finding their flippers in their new home in the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, where you can see them being fed at 3pm every day! Make sure you a pay a visit to Bob the pig-nosed turtle in the Ganges display too – and see if kids can spot his Peppa Pig-like snout!
Pay a visit to the UK’s largest zoo to spot over 3,300 unique creatures, including turtles! Don’t miss the specially designed Turtle Ark, which is home to a really important selection of freshwater turtles. The six different species are some of the most threatened species on the planet, but the special and safe home at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the only place in the UK that you’ll find the McCord’s’ box turtle – see if you can spot it on your visit!
Home to 400 species of exotic, endangered and adorable animals from the four corners of the globe, Bristol Zoo is also home to turtles. In the Reptile House, you’ll find the Yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle, Geoffroy's side-necked turtle and the Black marsh turtle, whilst the zoo is also home to Malaysian Giant turtles and Vietnamese Box turtles, who can box up completely within their shells!
Home to 20,000 creatures, 500 species and 125 acres of islands and habitats, it’s not surprising that Chester Zoo is also home to turtles. Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to be home to the Painted Batagur turtle, which you’ll find in Monsoon Forest. Ready for a fun fact? During breeding season, the head of the male turns white and a red stripe appears between his eyes, which is where he gets his name from!
Discover seven types of turtle at this popular attraction in Kent, from the Spiny Hill Turtle with a sharp pointed shell, to the Common Snapping Turtle known for its quick and powerful bite. There’s also the aptly named Stinkpot Turtle, which produces a pretty foul smell when it feels threatened – probably best not to get too close to that one!
Don’t be fooled by the name, Birdworld is home to much more than just our feathered friends. Amongst the 2,000 animals you'll find three Black-Knobbed Map Turtles with distinct shells, plus four Red Eared Sliders, who get their name from a distinctive red stripe and their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly! Found in the on-site aquarium, Underwater World, can you spot all seven?
Friday doesn’t just mark the start of the weekend, it’s also the name of the brand new Green Turtle who has moved into the National Marine Aquarium this year! Friday is the latest addition to the Atlantic Ocean Exhibit, which happens to be the largest and deepest tank in the UK, and moved from his original home at Oceanarium in Bournemouth! Watch him swim amongst a host of other sea creatures – did you know that green turtles can stay underwater for as long as five hours?
What’s 35-years-old and weighs almost 100kg? It’s Omiros, the Loggerhead Turtle at Blue Reef Aquarium! Originally rescued from Greece, Omiros is actually blind, but that doesn’t stop him enjoying swimming around his new home! Join him at 12.30pm every day to find out more about his story, and watch him have his lunch.
Whilst you won’t see any turtles swimming here, you will find four of your favourite crime-fighting turtles, complete with all their signature gear. Yep, I’m talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This World Turtle Day, why not celebrate with Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael? They make appearances at Nickelodeon Land every day, just make sure you come prepared with your best turtle-y poses ready for photos!