RiverQuarium turtles take to the water

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Out of 396 adopted, plastic, sunglass-wearing, four-inch turtles racing, the one adopted by an Atlanta man won the race.

Andrew Dupree visited the RiverQuarium and bought at least one $5 turtle adoption while on the visit. That adoption won him $500 Saturday.

In all, there were 1,000 turtles released on the water-steps fountain at the RiverQuarium at 11:30 a.m. Going through the turtles that floated into a catch tube one at a time, Laura Calhoun, event chair found a winning number after four tries.

"Mr. Dupree bought his adoption on a visit to the RiverQuarium," Calhoun said. "His turtle will also be in the finalists for the big March race."

Plans call for another preliminary race to be held at the 117 Pine Ave. location Feb. 12. Winners are guaranteed to be chosen.

"This is the third year for the race," said RiverQuarium CEO Scott Loehr. "We thought we'd try to stir up some interest in early adoption by having preliminary races."

Last year, the March race brought in $21,000. This first preliminary race netted $1,980 for the non-profit attraction.

New to the area, Greg Davis, a new pastor at Albany's Central Baptist Church said that he and his family have visited the RiverQuarium four times since moving to town five months ago.

"We bought a family membership and it is worth it," Davis said. "My grandchildren love it here."

The turtle race wasn't on the Davis family itinerary, but they got into the swing of things to support the RiverQuarium.

Davis' grandchildren P.J., 2, Zoey, 4, and Gabby, 8, lined up at the finish line to watch the race. Win or lose, the children enjoyed the race.

"They always enjoy the RiverQuarium," Davis said. "We'll be back often."