Manatee Lagoon recently had its grand opening, so, despite the chill in the air, we decided to head over and check out the newly constructed Manatee Eco-Discovery Center. Manatees love the heated water from the overflow around Florida Power and Light’s Clean Energy Center, and—as a thin-blooded Floridian myself—I certainly can’t blame them for seeking refuge here, especially when the temperatures drop.

Sadly, there weren’t many manatee photo opportunities on our visit, but with manatee season ending on March 31st and with many chilly days expected before then, there’s no doubt we’ll be returning for another shoot…or two. We learned that high tide is the best time to catch the many mammoth manatees a-mingling (try that triple-M tongue-twister), so we’ll certainly be planning around the ocean’s schedule as well.

The center itself provides quite a bit of information about manatee life and just how important it is to have a healthy environmental relationship with these gentle giants. I was very impressed with the multi-story facility. And with a café coming soon and some final touches being made to the grounds, it’s well worth the trip. Admission and parking are free, so there’s really no excuse not to visit often. I’m pretty certain there will be much appreciation for what FPL has developed here.

In this post’s featured shot, I was desperately waiting for this particularly massive manatee to breach and catch a breath, but a long, underwater sleep was obviously the plan all along. A motivated seagull was hunting for a meal right overhead, and if you look closely, you can see the manatee’s silhouette just below the waterline. Yes, yes, I know the manatee looks like a massive rock formation. But I’m 99.999 percent sure that rocks don’t move in the water. ;-)

 

Breaching Manatee at Manatee Lagoon, West Palm Beach, Florida

Catching Some Air

 

After a few hours of what I’ll call “patience at its finest,” we decided to head out, and, of course, that’s when Mr. or Ms. Manatee decided to come up for a quick whiff of air. Manatees aren’t known for their speed, but, man, they are surprisingly quick when it’s time to catch some air. That said, I’ll definitely be better prepared next time around.

 

EarthCam at Manatee Lagoon

Smile for the Camera

 

While waiting for a perfect photo opportunity or two, I learned that you can view the lagoon during daylight hours right from your own computer via EarthCam, which is pretty cool. (You might even see more manatees than I did.) As for Big Blue, I just could not help myself…

 

Mural at Manatee Lagoon, West Palm Beach, Florida

Manatee Mural

 

More to come from Manatee Lagoon. Stay tuned!