MAIN BEACH EVENT -Watch Rehabbed Sea Turtles Be Released

For those who’ve never attended a sea turtle release, it’s a happy occasion that usually attracts a crowd of curious well-wishers and is a nice educational experience.

EVENT DATE & TIME — May 15, 2024 At 10 AM

A popular tradition of the “Wild Amelia Nature Festival,” crowds will gather on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park to watch sea turtles who’ve been nurtured back to health go home to the sea.

The sea turtle release at Fernandina’s Main Beach is a few days before the Wild Amelia Nature Festival’s centerpiece event, the Eco-Expo, that is happening at Main Beach Park this year on Sat., May 18, 2024 (free admission)

For those who’ve never attended a sea turtle release, it’s a happy occasion that usually attracts a crowd of curious well-wishers and a nice educational experience. People gather in the sand, lining the designated corridor to the ocean water (taped off as shown above on the beach). Kids love to watch, adults as well, and the crowd applauds as the turtles swim away. Arrive early to get a good spot along the viewing corridor that forms, and a closer parking spot.

(The photos seen here are from Amelia Island Living’s archives, taken during past sea turtle releases held at Fernandina’s Main Beach.)

Sea Turtle Release at Main Beach Kicks of Wild Amelia Nature Festival May 15, 2015
Sea Turtle Release At Fernandina’s Main Beach

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a rehabilitation and education facility located on Jekyll Island, GA, brings nurtured sea turtles that have recovered and are ready to go back home to the sea, down to Fernandina for this annual event. The event is presented with the assistance of the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch.

The release this year will reportedly be three juvenile green sea turtles (FYI, the images above are juvenile greenies). If the event has to be delayed due to weather conditions, the back up date is Thursday, May 16, 2024, according to an announcement by the Fernandina Beach Government’s FB page.

As noted above, the Main Beach sea turtle release is scheduled for 10 a.m., but plan to arrive early — the parking lot(s) around Main Beach are likely to fill up. Event organizers have indicated the Main Beach parking lot will be closed to incoming vehicles at 9:45 a.m., leading up to the sea turtle release.

More About Wild Amelia Nature Festival

A celebration of nature and the bioregion here at the Florida-Georgia border, enjoy various activities happening around the local area during Festival week, a perfect time to learn more about northeast Florida’s flora, fauna, and eco system.

Eco-Expo At Main Beach – May 18, 2024 (10 AM – 4 PM)

As noted above, the 2024 Eco-Expo is being held at Fernandina’s Main Beach Park on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Wild Amelia’s Eco-Expo is being coordinated with this year’s special event, Nassau County’s “Opening of the Beaches” Bicentennial Celebration. (Also see related article about the “Opening of the Beaches” celebration, including live music, food trucks, kids zone and more). Read “Summer Kickoff, Nassau’s Opening of the Beaches Bicentennial Event.”

Wild Amelia’s 2024 “Critter Of The Year”
Male Pilated Woodpecker photographed on Amelia Island by Fernandina Beach in Nassau County, Florida.
Male Pileated Woodpecker photographed on Amelia Island by

Another tradition of the Wild Amelia Nature Festival is the selection of a “critter-of-the-year.” The chosen critter of 2024 is the Pileated Woodpecker. Locally, these very large woodpeckers can be spotted year-round and their loud calls heard on Amelia Island and elsewhere in Nassau County. (See related article, photos and Pileated Woodpecker video about Wild Amelia’s “Critter-of-the-Year”.)

The Wild Amelia Nature Festival is now a program of Keep Nassau Beautiful, a local non-profit organization creating public awareness, educational opportunities, programs and promotions with aim to “foster a personal appreciation of, pride in, and responsibility for the natural beauty of Nassau County.” Donate and/or learn more about Keep Nassau Beautiful, including volunteering and events throughout the year.

Founded by Dr. Terry Norton, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center offers various tours and accepts donations, learn more by visiting their website.