Turtle Point hands-on experience

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
A common phrase heard from the mouths of most parents with children is “Don’t touch!”
Saturday at Turtle Point Science Center in Flomaton children were encouraged to touch and explore all the facility has to offer.
Theresa Scott visited the center’s open house on Saturday and said that the hands-on learning is one of the main reasons she takes her children and grandchildren to Turtle Point regularly.
Jackie Word, director of the center, said the up close interaction with the animals is one of the main draws for the children, but there are many other activities for them to participate in.
The facility also offers a classroom with museum style exhibits of animals and fossils, six teaching gardens and a nature trail leading to a creek.
Word said they hold the open houses as an opportunity for parents to be able to have a more involved and fun learning experience with their children.
Judging by the children’s reactions, one of the most well-liked attractions was the new African Spurred Tortoise.
The tortoise, named Toby, weighs 25 pounds and came to the center from a couple who found him in Ft. Walton and kept him for a couple of years.
Most animals in the interpretive lab are native to the area, but some, like Toby, are considered an exotic species.
Word said they hope to get two more tortoises of the same species soon, as well as another alligator. She said then they will work on plans to build a special outside habitat for the tortoises.
Another new addition in the works is the butterfly house, an open-air enclosure to house butterfly plants and butterflies.
Turtle Point has three more open houses planned for the remainder of the school year. The dates are March 7, April 25 and May 16. The hours of operation for all three dates are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Turtle Point holds classes four days a week for schools, but welcomes visitors without appointments from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year.
For more information e-mail turtlepoint@escambiak12.net or call 251-296-3401.

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