South Florida Museum holds 65th birthday bash for Snooty the Manatee
July 18, 2013 Leave a comment
Snooty, the official mascot of Manatee County, turns 65 on Sunday, but this year his South Florida Museum home is hosting a spectacular birthday party for the new senior citizen a day early on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A longtime Manatee County tradition, past parties for Snooty have traditionally included a children’s birthday card contest and treats for the kids, but this year the Museum’s free 65th Birthday Bash and Wildlife Awareness Festival is expected to be the largest one ever held.
10th Street West in front of the museum will be closed to traffic during the event, and visitors can enjoy entertainment and presentations from the Garbage Band, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and Pure Dancers, as well as a misting station and water slide, face painting, balloon twisting and children’s games galore.
In addition, visitors will have opportunities to learn about environmental preservation and interact with wildlife and arts organizations from all over the area, including Mote Marine Laboratory, the Bat Conservancy, Busch Gardens, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Bradenton Marauders, Bishop Animal Shelter, Save the Manatee Club, Sara Bay Estuary Program, Manatee County Natural Resources Department, and Envirokids, among others.
The highlight of the party is scheduled for noon in the museum’s Parker Aquarium, where Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston is expected to lead the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Manatee County’s most beloved aquatic celebrity. Snooty will then be presented with a specially prepared fruit and veggie “cake,” made from the manatee’s favorite healthy treats.
NetWeave Social Media is hosting the presentation of Snooty’s birthday cake for the South Florida Museum in an online livecast on Livestream from 11:50 a.m.- 12:20 p.m. on June 20th. To register for the livecast, follow this link. Pre-registration is suggested.
Snooty is the world’s oldest known manatee on record, having started life at the old Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company in 1948, and he has the distinction of his being the first recorded birth of a manatee in captivity. “Baby Snoots,” as he was known then, was brought to Bradenton as part of the 1949 Desoto Celebration, and has since greeted more than one million visitors.
Snooty has participated in training with New College and the Mote Marine Laboratory staff, contributing to our knowledge of manatees and their physiology. He is the subject of informative talks given several times daily at the Manatee Parker Aquarium, covering everything from questions about eating habits (an herbivore, Snooty consumes 80-90 lbs. of lettuce, carrots, kale, cabbage, collards, bok choy, broccoli, and apples each day) to reproduction (as manatees cannot be bred in captivity, Snooty himself has remained a bachelor to this day).
The Parker Manatee Aquarium holds nearly 60,000 gallons of water, including a medical pool, and was designed to house three adult manatees. As part of the Manatee Rehabilitation Network, Snooty currently shares his space with two young rehabilitating manatees that will eventually be released back into the wild. Since 1997, more than 25 manatees have been cared for at the Aquarium.
The festival in the Museum’s Spanish Plaza and on outside on 10th Street is free, and there is reduced admission to the Museum, Planetarium & Aquarium all day Saturday. For more information, call 941-746-4131 or visit southfloridamuseum.org.