Padre Island National Seashore in Texas separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre. The park protects 70 miles (113 kilometers) of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. The area is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and a haven for 380 different bird species.
Of the five sea turtle species that roam the Gulf of Mexico, the Kemp's ridley is the smallest, with adult turtles reaching an average length of 23 to 27.5 inches (58.5 to 70 centimeters) and an average weight of 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
Each year, the public is invited to attend the releases of hatchlings that emerge from eggs cared for at the Padre Island National Seashore incubation facility. These releases — about 15 to 25 each year — are free to attend and are extremely popular, with thousands of people attending each release. This summer, dozens of nests are projected for release (click here for the dates), so head down to Padre Island and see one of these little guys for yourself. [Related Gallery: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals]