Published On: Tue, Nov 8th, 2022

FPL’s Manatee Lagoon Kicks Off the 2022-2023 Manatee Season with a Weekend Celebration and New Offerings

Manatee Lagoon Lobby

Center returns to seven days a week operations to accommodate busy manatee season

Riviera Beach, FL – As the Sunshine State anticipates the return of its favorite marine mammal to local waterways, Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center® kicks off manatee season with a free, family-friendly weekend celebration, complete with a variety of activities, exhibitors and more.

On Saturday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can enjoy free face painting, frozen treats, cornhole and other games. This year’s kick-off theme is “safe boating” to remind boaters of the importance of being mindful behind the wheel. The first 400 visitors will receive a free waterproof phone pouch with information on how to report a manatee in distress if seen in the wild.

“We hope visitors who come will enjoy themselves and also learn about what’s happening to manatees in the wild,” said Zack Greenberg, senior operations manager of Manatee Lagoon. “At Manatee Lagoon, our goal is to inspire people to preserve and protect Florida’s environment and wildlife for future generations. Manatees are an iconic part of our local ecosystem, and we do what we can to teach people how they can help.”

Lagoonside Chats throughout the weekend will feature a variety of exhibitors, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Friends of Manatee Lagoon, Save the Manatee Club, Lake Worth Lagoon Waterkeepers and more. On Sunday at 11 a.m., featured speaker and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee biologist Amber Howell will present ways the public can help support manatees.

Sunday’s activities will include the return of the “Lectures at the Lagoon” series with a 2 p.m. presentation by Dr. Beth Brady of Mote Marine Laboratory titled: “What Does the Manatee Say? Manatee Vocalizations in Florida and Beyond.” Advance online registration is recommended at www.visitmanateelagoon.com as lecture space is limited.

Now in its seventh year of manatee education and environmental conservation, Manatee Lagoon is a popular community destination, making it the 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 a goal of inspiring communities to preserve and protect Florida’s environment and wildlife for future generations.

In addition to the kickoff event, the enhanced facility welcomes visitors to explore and enjoy a variety of exhibits and programs this 2022-23 manatee season. These features are either brand new or back by popular demand, including:

·        “Lectures at the Lagoon” series: Visitors can enjoy presentations from marine educators, leaders and experts who will speak on a variety of topics, including conservation, local wildlife, boating safety and more. Attendees can register online on the Manatee Lagoon website.

·        New indoor exhibits: Manatee Lagoon’s indoor facility is welcoming a handful of exciting new exhibits, including three new life-sized manatee statues in the lobby, a refreshed lionfish tank and artificial reef tank, as well as a new Florida mangroves exhibit.

·        In-person school group opportunities: As a field trip destination, Manatee Lagoon welcomes back school groups to help educate youth about manatees and the Lake Worth Lagoon. The 90-minute program options offer a look into the world of manatees and their local habitat. For select programs, Manatee Masters will speak on manatee biology and ecology, sharing details about the lagoon’s estuarine habitat, and how students can help protect their local environment.

·        Public tours and outdoor seating: Daily at 2 p.m., Manatee Masters will continue to offer an outdoor talk from Manatee Lagoon’s 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 online registration is required as space is limited, and the event is weather dependent (so registrants should check the Manatee Lagoon website for the schedule).

Florida’s manatee season runs from Nov. 15 to March 31, when manatees migrate to warmer waters. When the waters of Lake Worth Lagoon dip to 68 degrees or colder, manatees gather in the clean, warm-water outflows surrounding the FPL Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center, adjacent to Manatee Lagoon.

About Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center®

Manatee Lagoon – An FPL Eco-Discovery Center® is a free Palm Beach County educational attraction with a dedicated area to view manatees up close. The 16,000-square-foot center features engaging, hands-on exhibits for visitors to learn all about the unique creatures as well as the natural wonders of the surrounding Lake Worth Lagoon. During the colder winter months, the facility’s observation deck is the ideal spot to view manatees basking in the clean, warm-water outflows from Florida Power & Light Company’s adjacent Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. Manatee Lagoon also offers digital resources and educational virtual content for manatee fans near and far on its website: VisitManateeLagoon.com.

Starting Nov. 21, 2022, the center will be open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for major holidays, until March 31, 2023, which marks the end of manatee season. April 1 through Nov. 14, 2023, the center will observe the same hours, with the exception of Mondays when the center will be closed.

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