Dubuque's River Museum to feature Turtles: Secrets of the Shell - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's River Museum to feature Turtles: Secrets of the Shell

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A one-of-a-kind new exhibit is coming to Dubuque's National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

Thursday morning the museum announced Turtles: Secrets of the Shell will be starting March 9. With more than 200 turtles in the exhibit, representing more than 100 species, museum executive director Jerry Enzler said it will be the largest and most diverse collection of turtles on public display anywhere in the world.

The museum also hopes to raise some turtle-related awareness.

"Many turtles need to go from a river to a sandy place to lay their eggs. When they do that, many times they are killed as cars go by, so we're suggesting that if it's safe and if a person could do it that they help turtles across," Enzler said.

He said there's another major threat to the turtle population.

"There's a huge appetite for turtles and turtle meat in China, and there's so much demand for turtles that it's putting a strain on the turtle population worldwide," he said.

Turtles: Secrets of the Shell starts March 9 and will run through Jan. 2014. After that, the Midwest portion of the exhibit featuring turtles that people can spot locally will tour nature centers, museums and other public places throughout Iowa so people statewide can see that for free, Enzler said.

The museum's exhibit will also include statues of turtles throughout the Dubuque area local artists will paint. Those will start appearing around Memorial Day.

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is part of the private non-profit Dubuque County Historical Society.

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