Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) constructed Manatee Lagoon to teach the public about manatees and to “inspire communities to preserve and protect Florida’s environment and wildlife for future generations.” The family-friendly attraction offers a peek into the life of threatened Florida manatees. Especially during cold weather, the manatees love to gather around the warm water produced by the clean energy plant.
Mother manatees have been showing their calves the route to the warm water in Manatee Lagoon for decades. The best time to see the most manatees is when the weather is coldest. Of course "cold" is relative in South Florida. Try visiting the Lagoon between November and March, when the air temperature drops below 68 degrees.
There's something for everyone. In addition to watching the manatees, there are interactive exhibits and other activities like art classes, yoga (for both adults and kids), educational programs for children, and arts and crafts for toddlers. You can also get a guided tour of the lagoon.
Manatee Lagoon has a two-level exhibit space and observation area, as well as shaded picnic areas. There's also a gift store, food for purchase, and a webcam that is continuously searching for manatees.
Manatee Lagoon is open Tuesday–Sunday from 9am–4pm. They're closed on Mondays and most holidays. Admission and parking are free, so there's no reason not to head down to see if you can spot a friendly sea cow.
Cover image courtesy of Florida Power & Light Company.