Decatur’s Cook Museum of Natural Science reopens, welcomes new family member

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DECATUR, Ala. – The Cook Museum of Natural Science opened to members only on Monday and Tuesday but on Wednesday morning, for the first time in nearly 4 months, the museum will be opened to the public.

During the time the museum was closed, they welcome a new family member. Kale, the sea turtle, settled into his new home in Decatur.

Kale is a kemp ridley sea turtle, listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is on the endangered species list.

He is still young and has injuries. He was hooked by a recreational fisherman back in 2019 and was transported here from Virginia.

“To be able to teach people in North Alabama that kemps ridleys are critically endangered, how they can help, these species actually nest in right here in Alabama once in a while, so be able to see an animal here learn about them and then potentially see a nest right here in Alabama is pretty special,” said Cassie Elias, Live Animal Manager at Cook.

Experts say he still needs medical attention from time to time so he’s no longer releasable into the wild.

The Cook Museum of Natural Science is open Monday through Friday from 9 am-5 pm and Saturday from 9 am-6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm-5 pm.

The museum already does timed tickets, but now, they’re reducing those tickets to only let in 15 people per 15 minutes to make sure that social distancing can be maintained.

Staff are required to wear masks.

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