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The South Florida Museum - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Places to Visit

A friend had recommended a trip to Anna Maria Island if we were looking for somewhere new to visit, and while plotting a route on Google Earth I spotted an icon for the South Florida Museum, which was right on our route from Orange Tree to Anna Maria. We decided to call in at the museum, hopefully get some lunch there, and then head for the beaches of Anna Maria Island in the afternoon.

The journey, along the US27, I4, I75, US302 and finally the US41 took about 2 hours and brought us to within two blocks of the Museum, which is in the downtown financial area of Bradenton, and sits by the side of the city Pier and waterfront.

We were able to park right outside the museum, which also has a free car park. Having paid our admission fee ($13. 95 – Seniors! ) we were told that we were just in time for the Manatee presentation at 1pm. Following the directions given by the staff member we quickly made our way up to the 2nd floor, stopping for a very brief look at the Pine Uplands display, and then on to the Manatee Aquarium viewing gallery. At the time of our visit there were three manatees in residence although only one, Snooty, is a permanent resident. We were told by the lady giving the talk (and feeding the manatees) that the Aquarium acts as a ‘half-way house’ for rescued manatees. It here that they are kept until they are approximately two years old and weigh 800 pounds and have put on enough weight to be released back into the wild. Snooty currently shares his tank with Coral Lee and Little Nap although it is believed that, having been born in captivity and separated from his mother who was released back into the wild, he did not see another manatee until he was 40. At the grand old age of 60 he is the oldest manatee in captivity.

After leaving Snooty and friends we consulted of guide map and schedule and realised that we had juts a few minutes in which to get to the Planetarium for the 1. 30pm showing of ‘Ultimate Universe’. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the lie-back seating in the planetarium and the presentation itself was stunning. Although a lot of the scientific commentary went over my head (quite literally! ) one thing I can confirm is that, as was noted in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, space is BIG!

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