Stay-Cation Series Gumbo Limbo Nature Center!
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center!
By Stephanie Fuentes
You don’t have to travel three hours to Key West to enjoy the flora and fauna we have in the subtropical South Florida habitat. What’s best is that we have an adorable enclave in Boca Raton beach for sea turtles and a nature preserve.
The unique name “Gumbo-Limbo” comes from a native tree to this area. You see it every day and probably didn’t notice it. The Gumbo Limbo tree is big and beautiful, with showy red bark and interesting branches low to the ground. It develops unusual red bark that peels back – reminiscent of sunburned skin – which gives Gumbo Limbo the nickname “Tourist Tree.”
The Nature Center was originally a field trip exhibit for middle and high school students. It was not until 1984 that the founder Gordon Gilbert, made this 20 acre nature center open to the public. The most common sea turtles at Gumbo Limbo are Loggerheads, Green sea, and Leatherbacks. The number one reason why sea turtles are endangered is Man! Whether we catch them, eat them, or poach the eggs these babies don’t always get lucky.
Here is a fun fact! The injuries on the turtles that are mostly caused by shark attacks are cured by raw honey, leeches, and magnets. The honey is used to coat the wound and resist from re-opening. The leeches are used for blood flow, and the magnets are used to eat off dead tissue.
Walking through nature gives you a sense of peace as you watch these amazing creatures. Everything is well kept and organized and the fish tanks, are absolutely mesmerizing. There is also a beautiful butterfly garden. One of their upcoming programs called “Turtle Walk & Hatchling Re-lease Program” is a great opportunity to see nesting loggerhead turtles and the release of baby sea turtles into the ocean! This program will be running from June