The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key opened in 1986 on the grounds of a former hotel and strip club. The hospital currently gives tours to an average 250 visitors a day and charges $15 each for adults and $7.50 for children.
Barbara Meyer, an education specialist at the Marathon Turtle Hospital, said the hospital has 40,000-50,000 people visit each year.
“We don’t have to advertise as much because we’re on the ‘Top 10 Things to do in the Keys,” she said. “Our main thing is education. That is how we are funded.”
Meyer said about 60 percent of the hospital’s funding came from admissions, adding that grants were very competitive in Florida. However, the hospital has received the Florida License Plate grant a couple of times. The gift shop also is a critical part of the hospital’s operations, including T-shirts and other memorabilia.
For the complete story, see the Sept. 20 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.