As the Sunshine State anticipates the return of its favorite marine mammal to the local waterways, Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco-Discovery Center®, reopens the inside of its facility – then entire 16,000-square-foot center! It’s making a comeback with new educational offerings and upgrades on Monday, November 1st.

This is a great place to visit in the winter months in West Palm Beach. With a power plant, science programs, meeting space, wild manatees, and free admission – this place is always included in top travel picks!

“As we kick off manatee season, we’re excited to welcome visitors back to Manatee Lagoon and share our new offerings and engaging programming for them to learn all about manatees,” said Pam Rauch. She is the vice president of external affairs and economic development for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). 

“FPL is committed to environmental stewardship and helping to protect Florida’s wildlife. Now more than ever, educating visitors on manatees is key to helping protect these wonderful creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit.”

FPL Eco-Discovery Center, Manatee Lagoon, Reopens

FPL Eco-Discovery Center, Manatee Lagoon Reopens for Manatee Season

Florida’s manatee season runs from November 15th to March 31st, during which time manatees migrate to warmer waters. On cold winter days when the water temperature of Lake Worth Lagoon dip to 68 degrees or colder, the sea cows gather in the clean, warm-water outflows surrounding FPL’s Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. It’s adjacent to Manatee Lagoon.

In addition to providing guests with panoramic views of Lake Worth Lagoon and manatees in season, the center also 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. It is 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. The goal was to inspire 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.”

FPL Eco-Discovery Center, Manatee Lagoon, Reopens

7 New Things This Season at Manatee Lagoon

1. 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. Sunny is a 3D animated junior solar tree that teaches about solar technology and the environmental benefits of clean energy. It’s infotainment visitors of all ages can enjoy!

2. 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 signs 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 will be offered on Manatee Lagoon’s website here. (You can also check out the manatee cam there too!)

3. 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 the unique Florida manatees. Programming where the gentle giants huddle begins November 8th.

FPL Eco-Discovery Center, Manatee Lagoon, Reopens

4. Lagoonside Chats and New Outdoor Seating

Daily at 2 p.m., Manatee Masters will offer an outdoor seated talk from Manatee Lagoon’s new Adirondack seating section along the facility’s observation deck. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Programming begins November 8th.

5. 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. What an ideal spot! Advance registration is required because space is limited in the designated area.

6. 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. This educational attraction is targeted at children two-years-old and older. Programming begins November 8th.

FPL Eco-Discovery Center, Manatee Lagoon, Reopens

7. Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation Protocols

Manatee Lagoon has added enhanced cleaning measures and installed HEPA filtration units, as well as touchless soap, paper towels, 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.

When you head to Manatee Lagoon, don’t forget to grab something at the gift shop. You can also hang out in the picnic area between viewing the manatee herds with your whole family. Then, share pictures with me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay.

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