10am—5pm Tuesday—Saturday | Noon—5pm Sunday | Closed Monday

Celebrate Manatees with The Bishop in November

Did you know that manatees can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes while they rest? Or that they have a never-ending supply of teeth — called marching molars — that move forward from the back of their jaw as their old molars wear down and fall out?

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is celebrating these fun manatee traits and more as we host special activities for Manatee Awareness Month throughout November. Manatee Awareness Month was designated by the state to help remind boaters that manatees are beginning to move from summer feeding grounds to warm water for the winter, and that to be manatee friendly they should follow safe boating guidelines and manatee speed zone designations.

The Bishop is planning special activities in November to highlight these gentle giants that call our coastal waterways home, and our work to help return sick and injured manatees to the wild.

As a Stage 2 Manatee Rehabilitation Facility, The Bishop has been doing manatee rehabilitation since 1998 and was a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations that participate in manatee population management or manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

In all, The Bishop has helped care for 42 manatees, including the three in our care in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat right now:

  • Felicia could be a poster child for Manatee Awareness Month. She’s a female manatee that was rescued from Ruskin Inlet April 22, 2019, with her mother after her mother suffered a watercraft injury. Felicia’s mother did not survive and we’ve been helping Felicia grow and receive pre-release conditioning for her release to the wild.
  • Doscal is a male manatee that is also about 7 feet long and weighed 347 pounds upon arrival. He was an orphan who was found emaciated when he was rescued from the Orange River in Lee County on April 3, 2019.
  • Viva is a female manatee about 6.5 feet long, weighing about 332 pounds. She was rescued on Nov. 11, 2019, from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Island in Lee County suffering from the effects of red tide.

You can meet Felicia, Doscal and Viva when you come for a Museum visit. Our Animal Care team is in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop most of the time to talk with you about these unique marine mammals. And be sure not to miss these upcoming activities!

Your health and safety, and that of our staff and volunteers, is our first priority and it’s important to us that you feel safe and comfortable as you enjoy your time with us. Please visit our website to learn more about the changes we’ve implemented — from requiring masks to a new one-way route through the Museum — as you plan your next visit to The Bishop, https://bishopscience.org/welcome-back/.

Manatee Awareness Month Activities

Noon Monday, Nov. 2: Facebook Live stream with The Bishop’s Animal Care staff

We kick off our month-long celebration of Manatee Awareness Month with a Facebook Live all about these fascinating animals — the official marine mammal of Florida! Ask our Animal Care expert anything you’d like to know about the wild manatees in our care, or about manatees in general.

Noon on Mondays: Manatee Mondays Minute of Zen

We all need a little extra zen on Mondays! Check out our Facebook page on Mondays for new videos of the manatees in our care doing what they do best — eating and swimming! (Note: The live stream on Facebook will take place at noon on Nov. 2 instead of the Minute of Zen.)

7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11: think + drink / science

During think + drink / science, the day’s expert begins the evening with a presentation then we open the floor for discussion. Join us on Zoom as we host Dr. James “Buddy” Powell, Executive Director of Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, who has spent 40 years studying and conserving manatees for “Manatees and Mermaids: A Perspective from 40 Years in the Field Studying Florida’s Beloved Marine Mammal.”

He’ll share myths and legends surrounding manatees, current threats to their survival, and a brief history of manatee research and conservation, along with some of his field experiences with manatees in several countries.

  • Where: On Zoom
  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Registration

think + drink/science is sponsored by WUSF, a corporate partner of The Bishop.

2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21: “Manatee Mythbusters”

Join us for a deep dive into manatees! How do they get so big by eating only sea grasses? How do they sleep? Do they live in herds? Join a member of our Animal Care team to sort fact from fiction.

  • Where: On Zoom
  • Cost: $3 for members of the Discovery Society; $5 for all others
  • Registration

3 p.m. every Saturday in November: Tales Under the Tree

During our children’s story time on our Facebook page, every book we feature will be about manatees. Some will even be read by special guests — members of our Animal Care staff!