Welcome home Sweet Pea


She’s finally back! I am very excited to announce that Sweet Pea the juvenile green sea turtle has returned to her home at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

For several weeks Sweet Pea received medical care at Gulf World Marine Institute for a long-term intestinal condition, but she’s a fighter and no illness was going to keep her down.

Sweet Pea went through a lot before coming to live at the sea turtle center.

In August 2016, she was rescued by Gulfarium after she washed up on shore tangled in fishing line. The fishing line had caused damage both inside and out. One of her front flippers had to be amputated, but that doesn’t stop this feisty turtle.

What has slowed her down was the damage caused inside. The fishing line, in addition to a possible spinal injury, made Sweet Pea’s intestinal track not work as effectively as it should. She has had trouble passing food for years.

To help her tackle this issue, Gulf World’s veterinarians brought Sweet Pea in for diagnostic treatment. Now, she is on a diet that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

It is called Mazuri Sea Turtle Gel Diet for Herbivorous Turtles.

This strange green “gel” is kind of like tofu in texture, and it is nutritionally complete for a turtle like Sweet Pea.

And she loves the stuff, gobbling it up from her care takers and the turtle center.

Visitors can check say hello Tuesday through Saturday from 12-4 p.m. at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center in the Navarre Beach Marine Park. Book your visit at NavarreListings.com.

Stopping plastic pollution can be fun

Have you ever seen a six-foot-tall straw tell folks to pick up their litter? What about a splashing dolphin made entirely of goggles and masks?

Sea creatures constructed from garbage and turtle-tastic crafts were a few of the activities at this year’s Sea Turtle Extravaganza. This festival marking the end of sea turtle nesting season is hosted by the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

The best part is that the activities are really focused on the kids.

The goal of the event is to make learning about conservation and marine life fun through painting, splashing and so much more.

A big message of this year’s festival was tackling plastic pollution. Kids could check out the art sculptures built entirely out of items collected off the beach, check out the Stranger Things Thing in which volunteers collected a variety of peculiar items off the beach, play games, make crafts that taught about wildlife, paint a banner and other activities.

Inside, visitors could tour the aquariums of the sea turtle center. The center also added a new activity where the kids can search for shark teeth through sandy excavation. I will admit that as an adult, I still totally tried my hand at it.

Navarre Beach prides itself on being an ecotourism destination, and the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center is a perfect example. The festival is part of that celebration of our beach and its wildlife.

The center is located in the heart of our Marine Park, one of the few examples left of an uncrowded Gulf Coast beach with white sand, lazy surf and park amenities. It is an ecotourism destination in and of itself. Its my favorite.

On the topic of ecotourism and engaging the kids, coming later this month is the Science Spooktacular. This creepy marine science themed festival is hosted by the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station located behind the sea turtle center.

Participants can get into costume and try out kid-friendly experiments or get hands on with some of the native wildlife in our touch tanks or pilot an ROV or learn about reefs through our live feed camera.

Its always a blast and is scheduled for Saturday. If you missed Sea Turtle Extravaganza, you definitely need come to Spooktacular.

Or schedule your vacation for next October to come check out our turtle-tastic and spooky autumn festival fun. Make your plans at navarrelistings.com.

“The Grand Old Lady” turns 105

Birthdays are a time to celebrate, and just north of Navarre Beach we celebrated a big one this week.

Known as “The Grand Old Lady,” the Imogene Theatre turned 105! This theatre has been offering entertainment in downtown Milton for generations. Milton is a quaint little town just north of our beaches.

Built in 1912, she opened her doors for the first time Oct. 13, 1913.

The cost of construction at that time was $25,000, which would be equal to roughly $631,000 today based on inflation. Yeesh! Looking at her timeless beauty, you can see why she cost a pretty penny.

Milton historians have kept great records of her life through the decades, and they are always on hand to share these stories. The theater was born out of need in the community. In 1909, a massive fire claimed most of the downtown buildings including the community center.

So Steven Harvey, president of the area bank, set out to recreate that space. He envisioned a vaudeville-style theater with shops on the bottom floor and a variety of performances upstairs.

He contracted with locally infamous architect Walker Willis who designed many of the historic structures still standing in the area including the Milton School building and the San Carlos Hotel.

At the time of her founding, Imogene was not yet Imogene. She was called the Milton Auditorium and Opera House, but when the Gooch family purchase the theater a decade later, it was renamed after Imogene Gooch, then 7 years old. The living Imogene was quite the entertainer herself, performed on the stage as a child and famously singing the song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.”

Through the ages, Imogene hosted live performances, the first silent films, then the first “talkies” or movies with sound. She survived hurricanes, flood and more fires.

In 2009, a fire nearly claimed our Grand Old Lady. Damage to the inside of the building was extensive and our hearts were broken that we might loose this gem of our history.

But the Milton Historical Society rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt her, sticking true to the historic finishes Walker Willis planned nearly a century before.

Now she holds host to performances each weekend including mystery dinner theater, nationally known musical acts and other events.

If you have not seen the Improbable Cause Mystery Dinner folks do their thing you are missing a side splitting time, and the acoustics of the theater for musical performances have become legend among musicians that visit her.

And a historical tour, complete with ghost stories and artifacts from Imogene’s life are always a treat.

So come celebrate the Grand Old Lady with us. Book at navarrelistings.com.

Navarre Beach has plenty running fun

If running is your thing, October is your time to visit Navarre Beach.

While I am by no means a professional runner, I do enjoy the morning jog, and I have tried my hand at a 5K.

But whether you are a novice like me or you are a running pro, Navarre Beach’s running season has your back. During the coming months, the weather is milder. It is not actually cold enough to be considered winter, but the autumn breeze takes the edge off our sunshine.

Perfect weather for running.

My favorite of the runs is the Run for the Reef 5K, 10K and Children’s Fun Run. I favor the 5K run along our beautiful beach, and I will leave the 10K to the professionals. The timing for this event is done by a top-notch professional crew, meaning you know if you beat your personal best or met that goal time you are training for.

An impressive tidbit from this year’s Run for the Reef, the first-place female was actually 12-year-old Jasmine Daugaurd who smoked the course easy.

For the younger kids Run for the Reef also features

And the best part is they are all for a good cause. Run for the Reef supports the pristine natural Navarre Beach Marine Park and its reef systems. The Pink Pirates “Treasure Your Chest” 5K run later this month is of course in support of breast cancer awareness, specifically helping women afford lifesaving mammograms for early detection.

Coming Dec.1 we will also have the Navarre Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk/Fun Run which is always a treat.

The area has also seen its fair share of obstacle runs such as the Warrior Run this year. That one is way above my skill level, but my friend said she had a blast taking on military grade obstacles and pushing her body to the limit.

After your run, you can relax along our lovely beaches or get some holiday shopping done at one of our unique boutiques. (Christmas is less than 90 days away. Eek!)

Come test your skill, or enjoy a beach front jog, through navarrelistings.com