Skip to main content

PGAV Destinations to Design South Carolina Aquarium’s new Sea Turtle Rescue Center


Brand New Sea Turtles Coming to Charleston, South Carolina. PGAV Destinations chosen to design new aquarium exhibit

St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations has been chosen to design the South Carolina Aquarium’s new Sea Turtle Rescue Center.

PGAV Destinations to Design South Carolina Aquariums new Sea Turtle Rescue CenterFor years the South Carolina Aquarium has run one of the country’s most successful and active sea turtle rescue programs. In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, sick or injured sea turtles are brought to the Aquarium where they are rehabilitated for an average of eight months and then returned to the wild.

The new endeavor, being led by the Aquarium’s president and CEO Kevin Mills and PGAV aquarium strategists and designers Emily Howard and Tom Owen, will work to bring the Aquarium’s recovering turtles out into the public eye as a permanent addition to the Aquarium.

The team will kick off its first official meeting in mid-August, where they will begin to outline the goals of the project and the key messages the Aquarium would like to convey with this Rescue Exhibit. Chief among these messages will be educating the public about the destination’s efforts in sea turtle conservation and rehabilitation, while bringing guests face-to-face with these amazing animals in unique and immersive environments.

“Turtles and sea turtles have become really popular animals at zoos and aquariums even more than in the past, ” says PGAV Destinations VP Emily Howard. “The species of sea turtles found in the US are either endangered or threatened, so their conservation message is more important than ever.  These animals are also truly charismatic; the public loves to see and learn about them.”

The Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital is currently treating a variety of species including loggerhead, green, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the most endangered sea turtle species in the world.

Many sea turtle species are endangered due to widespread habitat loss. The turtles nest on beaches, but troublesomely these beaches are often popular tourist destinations. This causes development which encroaches on nesting grounds, tourists to inadvertently damage nests, and the lights of buildings to confuse the sea turtles (which navigate by the moon’s light when nesting at night).

PGAV Destinations has most recently been involved in SeaWorld Orlando’s Turtle Trek, an exhibit renowned for its groundbreaking 4D theater and compelling conservation message intertwined with beautiful and immersive turtle habitats. PGAV will spend the fall collaborating with the South Carolina Aquarium on ideas, story-lines, and potential lay-outs for the project, and is aiming to present its “winning design” later this year.

About PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now in its fifth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning.  

PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Hearst Castle, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.

More from this author

Related content

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update