A 16-foot-long, 6-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall loggerhead sea turtle, in a coral reef scene with seaweed and schools of fishes, has been created on the Aquarium’s front plaza on Central Wharf.

This year’s sculpture is inspired by the Aquarium’s longstanding and highly respected care for sea turtles. Since early November, the Aquarium team at the Animal Care Center in Quincy has treated 195 hypothermic sea turtles that were rescued from Cape Cod beaches and then brought to the Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital to be rewarmed and medically treated.

On Thursday, ice sculptor Don Chapelle of North Andover and his team set up the blocks of ice and created the scene of a sea turtle and its habitat. The sculpture was formed out of 40 blocks of ice, each weighing 300 pounds, for a total of 12,000 pounds. Chapelle, who works out of his Brilliant Ice Sculptures studio in Lawrence, has been creating ice sculptures for the Aquarium for the last 13 years and has made renditions of penguins, fur seals, sea lion pups, a blue lobster, and an orange octopus.

Turtle Ice Sculpture!

ice sculptor Don Chapelle works on the sea turtle ice sculpture
Ice sculptor Don Chapelle works on the sea turtle ice sculpture on Thursday, December 26, 2019.

The multi-ton frozen turtle can be found in front of the Simons Theatre through this school vacation period, weather permitting. 

The Aquarium’s marine animal rescue program has increasingly focused on sea turtle conservation by treating, rehabilitating, and then releasing sea turtles back into the ocean. Many of the turtles are highly endangered and face risks of boat and propeller strikes, fishing gear entanglements, and plastic ingestion due to human activity.

The species are usually juvenile Kemp’s ridley, the most endangered sea turtle in the world, along with green and loggerhead sea turtles. Over the years, the Aquarium has treated and released thousands of Kemp’s ridley turtles in an effort to restore the population in the wild.

Come see our sea turtles – Myrtle, Carolina, and Retread – and the ice sculpture today. Buy tickets online and skip the line outside!

See more photos of the sculpture

Learn more about our sea turtle rescue program

Conservation Context

The world’s seven species of sea turtles have roamed the oceans for hundreds of millions of years. But today, most of these species are endangered and all are threatened due to unprecedented threats from humans, including fishing bycatch, entanglement, boat strike, poaching, loss of nesting habitat, pollution, oil spills, and climate change.