Hang Out with Hundreds of Turtles as This Local Sanctuary Opens to the Public for the First Time

This is your chance to feed carrots to a 400-pound tortoise

The non-profit organization Turtle Conservancy operates a sanctuary outside of Ojai that offers protection for over 30 different threatened or endangered species of turtles and tortoises. Since its founding, the center has been slightly secretive—focusing on breeding and conservation work rather than turning the sanctuary into a tourist destination—and visits were only offered by select invitation. Now, through a partnership arrangement with the famed Ojai Valley Inn, the general public will have its first chance to visit the animals and learn more about the Conservancy’s work.

Photograph courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn

Reptile enthusiasts can book 90-minute tours of the center, guided by educators from the organization. In addition to hanging out with the giant tortoises (and feeding them a little snack), the tours also go behind the scenes of the Conservancy’s breeding program, the only accredited captive-breeding facility dedicated solely to turtles and tortoises in the entire world. That means lots of adorable hatchlings.

Tickets for the tour must be booked through the Ojai Valley Inn at least 72 hours prior to the desired tour date. Tickets include the visit, as well as some special Turtle Conservancy merchandise to take home.

Photograph courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn

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