We invite little visitors to explore our new turtle sculpture, which is a perfect background for your keepsake photos of your visit to Central Wharf.

A new addition to our plaza, the sculpture of the two loggerhead sea turtles sits next to our harbor seal exhibit.

The sculpture is about  5 feet long by 3 feet wide and is about 2 to 2.5 feet tall. The turtle shells are fiberglass casts from a real loggerhead shell, while the head and flippers were artistically sculpted. The turtles rest on an embedded natural driftwood log.

a girl looks back at a turtle sculpture while see climbs on the other sculpture in the Aquarium's plaza
(Photo: Vanessa Kahn/New England Aquarium)

Peter Brady, the Aquariums Manager of Exhibit Production, created the sculpture in 2002 for a changing exhibit in the West Wing  called “Living Links: Choices for Survival.” Since it was a freestanding piece intended for children to climb on, it was incorporated in the Animal Hospital exhibit in the space now known as the Blue Planet Center. When the Animal Hospital closed, it was placed in storage for several years. It then found a home outside the entrance to the Quincy Animal Care Center. 

Recently the Aquarium decided to refurbish the sculpture and place it on our Central Wharf plaza. We hope it inspires our visitors to learn more about loggerhead sea turtles and the efforts of our Sea Turtle Rescue Team, who are at the beginning of another sea turtle rescue season.

Learn more about loggerhead sea turtles and our sea turtle rescue efforts! 

a youth sits on the sea turtle sculpture on the Aquarium's plaza
(Photo: Vanessa Kahn/New England Aquarium)

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.
From sea level rise impacting nesting beaches to warmer water temperatures and changes in food supply, climate change is already having an effect on the world’s seven species of sea turtles. Studies also show that higher temperatures impact sea turtle gender ratios. Increased incubation temperatures have been shown to result in more female sea turtles, adversely impacting genetic diversity.
In important feeding areas, water currents may concentrate turtles’ food sources with floating debris. Turtle Ecologist Dr. Kara Dodge and other researchers with the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life have spotted an incredible variety of plastic waste in the field, including balloons, food wrappers, beach toys, flip-flops, grocery bags, and water and soda bottles, not to mention the microplastics that are invisible to the naked eye. Turtles feeding on this contaminated “soup” are highly likely to ingest some of these plastics.
Marine debris can entangle and harm marine organisms. For air-breathing organisms, such as the green sea turtle, entanglement in debris can prevent animals from being able to swim to the water’s surface, causing them to drown. The incidental capture in fishing gear is also known as “bycatch” and it’s one of the greatest threats to sea turtles and many other species worldwide.
The industrialization of our oceans has led to an increase in the number of sea turtles that have been injured by ship strikes.
children look at the sea turtle sculpture on the Aquarium's plaza
(Photo: Vanessa Kahn/New England Aquarium)

More photos of the sculpture