200 Margaret Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Key West Turtle Museum
Ponce de Leon, in 1513, mentions the turtles in an account of his travels through the area. Ponce de Leon observed that the waters were so full of loggerhead turtles that he named the islands “Tortugas”, which is
Spanish for turtles.
Turtle fishing in the Florida Keys nearly wiped out the local species in the early 1900s. Conservation and rescue efforts, which began in the 1950s, have seen some positive impact including promoting awareness, protecting habits, and tagging for research and study.
Local lore suggests that the cannery may have been the first pay-to-see attraction in Key West, as the turtle wranglers, sensing a financial opportunity, charged a 10-cent viewing fee as early as 1890.