HARLINGEN — Speedy the turtle poked his head out of the hole in a blue box in an attempt to escape into an auditorium filled with more than 300 children and adults.
Excited children sat and wiggled on the floor while they waited for the presentation to begin.
It was a packed house at the Harlingen Public Library yesterday as members of Sea Turtle Inc. stopped by to give a presentation on turtles and conservation.
Sea Turtle Inc. education director Kat Lillie stood at the front of the auditorium ready to give a presentation.
“We travel and do theses outreaches quite a bit,” Lillie said. “We travel as much as 90 miles outside of South Padre Island so basically most of the Valley.”
Lillie was joined by friends.
Speedy, a freshwater turtle, and PJ, a box turtle, waited in separate holding areas, before it was their time to share the stage.
“It’s hard to travel with sea turtles so that’s why we travel with these guys,” Lillie said.
With the help of a young audience member, Emma Nunez, Lillie went over the different body parts of sea turtles by slowly putting on the costume.
“You look an awful like a human,” Lille told Emma. “You need to look more like a turtle.”
Lillie then outfitted Emma with a soft, plush shell before placing a turtle head and flippers on her.
“I liked it,” Emma said. “I like turtles.”
Harlingen youth services librarian Christine Newman said the event was the most popular programming the library had put on.
“Every year we try to have some kind of programming children and teens can enjoy during the summertime,” Newman said.
Earlier in the summer the library hosted a Lego event that attracted around 200 children but interest in the sea turtles brought in more than 330 children.
Newman said she hoped the event encouraged children to want to be more active in their learning and eventually seek books on sea turtles and sea life.
“I wanted to have something interesting and engaging for the kids,” Newman said. “Something different.”