Coming Out of Their Shells

An exhibit at New Jersey’s Adventure Aquarium showcases sea turtles from around the world

Mar 08, 2013 | By TFK Kid Reporter Phoebe Weintraub
COURTESY ADVENTURE AQUARIUM

The exhibit Journeys of Survival features several species of land and aquatic turtles.

Adventure Aquarium, in Camden, New Jersey, gives visitors a chance to come face to face with marine animals. The aquarium’s newest exhibit, Journey of Survival, features sea turtles from around the world. Curator Nikki Grandinetti talked to TFK about her work with sea turtles, animals she refers to as “ambassadors for the ocean.”

TFK Kid Reporter Phoebe Weintraub feeds a green sea turtle at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.
COURTESY ADVENTURE AQUARIUM
TFK Kid Reporter Phoebe Weintraub feeds a green sea turtle at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.

TFK:

Why did you decide to feature sea turtles at the aquarium?

NIKKIE GRANDINETTI:

The reason for the sea turtle exhibit is that we want to educate the public on [sea turtle] conservation efforts. We want to make sure that the public gets a better understanding and appreciation for marine life. That is our whole goal here: that people understand marine life and oceans and are more willing to conserve them.

TFK:

Where did you find Ozzy, a loggerhead sea turtle featured in the exhibit?

GRANDINETTI:

Ozzy came to us from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores. They have a program where they excavate the nests after there is a hatching event and look for stragglers. Then they bring the stragglers back to the aquarium and [rehabilitate] them and, eventually, tag and release them. However, they realized when Ozzie was little that he had some problems. He had to be treated for pneumonia, and he had some flipper issues. He was deemed “non-releasable.”

TFK:

How long have you been working with sea turtles?

GRANDINETTI:

I started my career in 1995, so 18 years.

TFK:

Did you spend time at the beach when you were younger?

GRANDINETTI:

Yes . . . We did a lot of camping and went all up and down the East Coast. I got to experience ocean life at the beaches we visited. Maine was my favorite place. We would go to Acadia National Park, and that is where I fell in love with invertebrates.

TFK:

What do you love so much about sea turtles?

GRANDINETTI:

I just think that they are very magical looking when you see them swim through the water. I think they can be ambassadors for the ocean and that people can connect with them.   

TFK:

Do you have a favorite marine animal?   

GRANDINETTI:

If I had to pick a favorite animal, it would be the octopus. They are incredibly awesome.