May 21, 2020

World’s Largest Mesquite Sea Turtle Debuts South Padre Island

South Padre Island, TX, May 18, 2020 – A meticulously hand-carved seven-foot, ten-inch tall by eight-foot-long, six and a half-foot wide sea turtle, weighing in at 400 pounds is taking its place as an amazing record-breaking tribute to South Padre’s beloved sea turtles. The best beach in Texas daily celebrates being one of the world’s foremost spots for the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles including the endangered Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle.

The mesquite carved turtle is part of a new Sea Turtle Art Trail that links in with the Island’s established Art Scene a new piece of artwork was commissioned by Sea Ranch Restaurant run by the Friedman Family.

Mesquite carved sea turtle “swims” in front of the Sea Ranch

Longtime supporters and patrons of the arts, the Friedman’s turned to local artist Andy Hancock for the remarkable work. Hancock, who has numerous sculptures and carvings at the Sea Ranch, responded to the request in a big way.  The Freidman’s, owners of several locally owned seafood restaurants, asked for something to highlight their love for turtles, to celebrate the new turtle nesting/hatching season, and tie in to the new Sea Turtle Trail the island is hatching.

Bob Friedman, owner of Sea Ranch said it’s time for the island to have a symbol of both recovery and resilience – something definitely exemplified by sea turtles.  “Even though the world has been turned upside-down recently, we felt it was important to help everyone recover and if we can bring a smile to our visitor’s faces then we will do whatever is necessary! Andy’s work has been one of our attractions for over 15 years so why ask anyone else?”

The work is co-funded by the City Of South Padre Island which is continuing to augment their many visitor attractions with more public art – of all different types. “This fits in perfectly to the Sea Turtle Trail that is bringing even more public art to the island,” said Ed Caum CVB Director. “It’s going to be yet another great photo-worthy stop on the Island and a great addition to Andy’s already extensive art installation located across the island.”

When Andy is not in his workshop carving and creating art in other mediums, he conducts sandcastle lessons for Island visitors, something one would expect of an artist living in the “Sand Castle Capital of the World.”

The Sea Turtle will be on permanent display outside the restaurant – so visitors are encouraged to stop by and get a great family photo with the world’s largest mesquite turtle! 

Sea Ranch restaurant can be contacted at and opens at 4.30 daily.

Andy Hancock works by commission and can be contacted at 956 433 9948

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