Manatee Lagoon opens to visitors Saturday; great timing with cool weather coming in

Manatees swim along the viewing deck of the Manatee Lagoon, an FPL eco-discovery center, Jan. 12, 2016, in Riviera Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Manatees swim along the viewing deck of the Manatee Lagoon, an FPL eco-discovery center, Jan. 12, 2016, in Riviera Beach. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

The new Florida Power & Light Co. Manatee Lagoon science center is slated to open to the public Saturday morning in Riviera Beach.

And the timing couldn’t be much better. A cold front is expected to drop temperatures in Palm Beach County into the high 60s Saturday morning, and into the low 40s Sunday, the National Weather Service says.

» RELATED | Photos: Inside the new Manatee Lagoon center

During cool weather, manatees tend to flock to the warm water flowing from FPL’s Riviera Beach power plant next to the Manatee Lagoon center, making this weekend a good opportunity to spot some sea cows.

The $4.8 million facility also offers a boardwalk, a manatee cam, a pavilion, a gift shop and educational exhibits.

Read more about Manatee Lagoon.

IF YOU GO

What: Opening of FPL’s Manatee Lagoon science center

Where: 6000 N. Flagler Dr., Riviera Beach

When: Manatee Lagoon open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; public park open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week

Information: www.visitmanateelagoon.com

FPL’s Manatee Lagoon set to open Feb. 6

Manatees gather in the Lake Worth Lagoon next to FPL's Riviera Beach plant in February. Rich GraulichThe Palm Beach Post.
Manatees gather in the Lake Worth Lagoon next to FPL’s Riviera Beach plant in February 2015
Rich Graulich The Palm Beach Post.

Manatee Lagoon, Florida Power & Light’s new eco-discovery center, is slated to open  at 9 a.m. on  Saturday Feb. 6. Admission is free.

The center is adjacent to FPL’s Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center, where hundreds of manatees have gathered during cold snaps each year near the plant’s warm water outflows.

The 16,000-square-foot $4.832 million facility at 6000 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. It includes two levels of exhibit and meeting space, a boardwalk, picnic area, a pavilion, cafe and gift shop.

Manatee Lagoon is designed to provide visitors with opportunities to learn about the marine mammals and what is needed to protect them.  There’s also an area to view manatees up close if consistent cold temperatures produce the right conditions.

The center will be open from 9 am. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. It will be closed on Mondays.

It is scheduled to shut down in the spring and reopen in November 2016, when it will remain open year-round.

For more information, call 561-626-2833 or visit visitmanateelagoon.com