In Marathon, one of the middle islands of the Florida Keys, there is a hospital that specializes in the treatment of endangered sea turtles. The main goals of the hospital are to rescue sick or injured turtles, rehabilitate them, and then release them back into the wild, collecting research along the way. It is located at mile marker 48.5 on the Overseas Highway. I suggest this as a stop if you are making the drive from Miami to Key West or vice-versa. Make sure to make reservation because to visit the hospital you must be led by a tour guide and a lot of times the tours get fully booked.
The hospital is located on the grounds of an old hotel with a lovely view of the Gulf of Mexico. The old guest rooms are now used for storage and for staff to stay the night when tending to turtles. The old swimming pool is also put to use for some of their resident turtles who have injuries too severe to ever be released. They have connected the bay’s saltwater to the pool so it is much more like living in their natural environment. At the pool you are able to feed the turtles, which was on of my favorite parts.
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