INDIAN SHORES ––The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary celebrated its grand opening Thursday with a meet-and-greet with avian ambassadors, staff and volunteers, and a pelican hand-feeding and ribbon-cutting.
Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, 18328 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores, took over operations of the facility, formerly known as the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, in September.
Established in 1971, the sanctuary has been considered one of the premier avian rehabilitations centers in the nation and has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of birds.
Its mission is a broad outreach of education and sustainability, said president Andrew von Gontard.
"You would see all the devastation that things like fishing tackle would have on the bird species," he told the crowd at the opening. "(But) thanks to the good work of everybody here at the sanctuary over the years, there has been much more education."
The sanctuary is open to the public year-round. Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to donate.
For more information, visit the center's website.