The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, also known as the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex, is both an escape from the hassle and grind and everyday life, and also a great place to learn something new about nature.
Gumbo Limbo is located in Red Reef Park, at 1801 North Ocean Boulevard, in Boca Raton, Florida. Named for the abundant gumbo trees in the park, this vast nature center makes up twenty acres on the protected barrier island on which it sits. At Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, you’ll first find a few things to do indoors, including a gift shop, small aquariums, and an indoor museum which houses several exhibits at a time. Moving outdoors will bring you to several much larger aquariums with complicated and beautiful fish, turtle, and sea life ecosystems, along with an observation tower, boardwalk, and a butterfly garden.
You can find many events at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center that vary all year round – the most popular of which are those events set up to observe the nesting season of sea turtles. The center focuses on research, conservation, and rehabilitation of sea turtles, among other things. In fact, this environmental center is probably best known for the work it does protecting local sea turtles. Along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gumbo Limbo seeks to help the sea turtles who are now classified as either endangered or threatened species. Unfortunately, this now describes every single sea turtle species that is currently alive.
At Gumbo Limbo, staff has worked for the past thirty years to help sea turtles in the area who are sick and injured. Due to pesticides, fertilizers, and other pollutants in the water, sea turtles are commonly affected with Fibropapillomatosis (FP), which presents itself as large tumors that can grow on the sea turtles flippers, eyes, and mouth, impeding their ability to swim and find food. At the rehabilitation facility, wounded turtles are treated with the eventual goal to be re-released into the wild, once they have been fully rehabilitated and prepared to survive on their own.
The research facility is located at the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex, but is in a separate building. At the facility, researchers can take a tour and ask the researchers about their work researching not only the behavior of sea turtles, but also salt levels effect on seagrasses, and shark sensory perception.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is operated by the city it is located in, Boca Raton, Florida, along with Friends of Gumbo Limbo. When you arrive, the front desk has helpful staff on hand to answer any and all of your questions.
Check out Boca Express Train Museum.