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Wildlife Wednesdays: Is a Tortoise a Turtle? Find Out This and More at The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Get Up Close and Personal with Turtles at The Seas with Nemo & Friends

So you don’t to have to wait until your next visit, yes, a tortoise is a turtle, but a turtle is not necessarily a tortoise (see fun fact below). You can find out all kinds of fascinating information and participate in a variety of activities for the whole family May 23 when Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate World Turtle Day.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests may see a turtle getting a veterinary exam, find out if they are smarter than a turtle, and get an up-close look at some of the turtles and tortoises that make their home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and learn about how we care for them.

Veterinarians Examine a Turtle at Disney's Animal Kingdom

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends, sea turtles are the focus (naturally!). Guests can watch a sea turtle swimming gracefully by in the 5.7 million gallon saltwater main aquarium, learn about the conditions needed for sea turtles to nest successfully (did you know that female sea turtles return to the same beaches where they were hatched to lay their eggs?), and take part in an activity that follows a sea turtle hatchling on its journey to the sea, discovering how all of us can help to remove the obstacles that stand in its way.

I am very proud that the team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate and conserve turtles and tortoises every day. Over the years, for example, our animal care team has nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and released them back to the wild. And since its inception, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts through more than 27 nonprofit organizations worldwide.

All of us can help turtles and tortoises by taking action to reduce, reuse and recycle, by making sure that we dispose of trash properly, and by observing turtles and other wildlife from a safe distance, taking care not to disturb them or their habitats.

Fun Fact: The word “turtle” refers to all species of turtle, including freshwater and sea turtles, box turtles and tortoises. Tortoises are turtles that live on land.

Upcoming 2012 wildlife conservation events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (as always, dates subject to change):

  • June 6: Pollinator Day
  • August: Cotton-Top Tamarin Month
  • Sept. 5: International Vulture Awareness Day
  • Sept. 26: Elephant Awareness Day
  • Oct. 31: Bat Day

And at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8.

For more from the “Wildlife Wednesdays” series, see the posts below:


  • Along the lines of wildlife conservation, I have a question. I have often wanted to visit the Disney Wilderness Preserve while we are at WDW. Is there regular scheduled transportation from WDW to the preserve or do we need to drive there on our own?

  • I knew that! I told my family.:)

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