FPL's Manatee Lagoon Hosts ManateeFest 2024 This Weekend


Photo: AFP

There is an event this weekend that's aimed at teaching people about Florida manatees.

ManateeFest is happening on Saturday at FPL's Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach, which opened eight years ago this month right next to the company's Clean Energy plant.

It's a spot where manatees had been gathering for years to stay warm in the winter months.

"So people could not only view the manatees, but also learn all about them and hopefully feel inspired to want to preserve and protect them for future generations."

Rachel Shanker is a conservation liason, or 'manatee master' as they call her at Manatee Lagoon.

"You can see anything from our amazing exhibitors to teach you all about the environment, to our vendors selling things from different arts and crafts to jewelry. We're going to have food trucks. We're going to have music and even a game where you can learn how to recycle."

There will also be an appearance from Manatee Lagoon's own mascot 'Mia the Manatee.'

She shares some information about the mammals that crushes a longtime myth.

"One of my favorite fun facts about manatees that has gotta be one of the biggest misconceptions is that they don't have a lot of body fat."

Shanker says that's one of the reasons why manatees have to come to warm water sites like FPL's power plant to "stay nice and toasty in the winter months."

The event opens at 9 a.m. and mornings are the best times to spot the large mammals.

Admission is free and plenty of free parking will be available at the Port of Palm Beach, with trolleys running on a continuous shuttle loop between the Port and Manatee Lagoon.

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