Self-guided tours and virtual visits, outdoor yoga, are new this season
ABOVE VIDEO: Just in time for the height of manatee season, which runs from Nov. 15 to March 31 during colder weather, Manatee Lagoon – an FPL Eco-Discovery Center invites visitors to discover new educational offerings and upgrades to the attraction.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – Just in time for the height of manatee season, which runs from Nov. 15 to March 31 during colder weather, Manatee Lagoon – an FPL Eco-Discovery Center invites visitors to discover new educational offerings and upgrades to the attraction.
When the waters of Lake Worth Lagoon dip to 68 degrees or colder, manatees gather in the clean, warm-water outflows surrounding FPL’s Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center, next to Manatee Lagoon.
In addition to providing guests the opportunity to spot manatees in season and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Worth Lagoon, Manatee Lagoon offers a variety of ongoing activities including free educational lectures, arts and crafts, and more.
Now in its sixth year of manatee education and environmental conservation, Manatee Lagoon is a popular community destination, which makes it an ideal place for people to learn about these beloved marine mammals.
FPL built Manatee Lagoon in 2016 as part of its environmental mission to teach the public about manatees, with the goal of inspiring communities to preserve and protect Florida’s environment and wildlife for future generations.
“We’re using our platform to educate visitors about what’s happening to manatees in the wild, and show them how they can help,” said Sarah Marmion, manager of Manatee Lagoon. “Although these gentle water giants are an iconic part of our local ecosystem, it’s up to us to protect them.”
New this season:
■ Enhanced outdoor walking pathways and 3D augmented reality solar exhibit.
Newly planted lush landscaping of dune sunflowers and native Florida flowering trees join solar canopies and a new augmented reality exhibit. Visitors can use their cell phones to make “Sunny” appear – a 3D animated junior solar tree who teaches about solar technology and the environmental benefits of clean energy. It’s “info-tainment” visitors of all ages can enjoy!
■ Self-guided tours and virtual visits.
Visitors who return to the indoor portion of the facility can now enjoy self-guided tours at their convenience by scanning QR codes on signage around the building. Expert Manatee Masters will share information on a wide range of topics. For those who prefer to stay home, the educational tour videos are also offered on Manatee Lagoon’s website.
■ “Waterfront Walks”
Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m., visitors can participate in short walking tours along the shoreline of Manatee Lagoon. Led by Manatee Masters, guests will learn more about Lake Worth Lagoon, an extraordinary 20-mile urban estuary, which serves as home to all kinds of marine creatures, including manatees.
■ “Lagoonside Chats” and new outdoor seating
Daily at 2 p.m., Manatee Masters offer an outdoor seated talk from Manatee Lagoon’s new Adirondack seating section along the first-floor observation deck. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
■ Outdoor yoga
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:45 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m., adult yoga classes are led by certified instructors against the calming backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon. Advance registration is required as space is limited.
■ “Manatee Tales Story Time”
The popular storytime returns with new take-home coloring activities on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Listen as a Manatee Master storyteller reads from a selection of engaging books, which share stories about various aquatic species that live in the Lake Worth Lagoon and the waters beyond. Targeted for children ages 2 and older.
■ Manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts
In light of challenges faced by Florida manatees, Manatee Lagoon has debuted a new educational exhibit spotlighting the plight of the iconic and imperiled sea cows.
Visitors can learn from Save the Manatee Club about ways to protect manatees and find more resources and steps they can take to help on a dedicated space at VisitManateeLagoon.com.
FPL also recently announced it has allocated more than $700,000 over the next three years to support manatee rescue and rehabilitation, as well as habitat restoration.
Projects this funding will support include a manatee rescue truck for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to transport sick or injured manatees to rehabilitation facilities throughout Florida, and a grant to the Florida Atlantic University Foundation for the FAU Harbor Branch Experimental Seagrass Nursery to aid seagrass restoration efforts for manatees in the Indian River Lagoon.
■ COMING SOON: New underwater Manatee Cam
For a fresh perspective and a new look at manatees, stay tuned to VisitManateeLagoon.com to catch the debut of an underwater camera! The camera is submerged in the outflow area of the facility, offering everyone and up-close vantage point of Florida’s most iconic marine mammal.
■ Making safety a priority
The health and safety of visitors and employees is a priority at Manatee Lagoon. The center has added enhanced cleaning measures and installed HEPA filtration units, as well as touchless soap, paper towel, and hand sanitizer dispensers in restrooms.
When visiting the indoor portion of the facility, masks are encouraged for all, and required for unvaccinated visitors. Social distancing and masks are strongly encouraged throughout the property.
For those interested in learning more about Manatee Lagoon, manatee fans near and far are offered digital resources and educational virtual content on its website.
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