Anna Maria Island includes several areas where manatees graze seagrass beds and pass through boat channels and canals. On the Gulf beach, in 2011, a herd of 13 manatee congregated and had to be patrolled by Police to keep onlookers from endangering themselves and the animals.
Finding and viewing manatees in the wild is a rare occurrence
but Bradenton has one, named “Snooty”, at the South Florida Museum. He was born in 1948 and is the oldest manatee in captivity. You can see “Snooty” at the Parker Manatee Aquarium, 201 10th St W., Bradenton.Update July 23, 2017: Snooty died by accident one day after its 69th birthday.
Update August 31, 2017: South Florida Museum board of trustees admitted to being at fault when it announced Snooty became stuck and drowned in a tunnel due to negligence and complacency by staff, who were aware of a loose cover panel that was not repaired. “Justice for Snooty” is calling for resignations or firings of museum CEO Brynne Anne Bresio and COO Jeff Rodgers. Aquarium director Marilyn Margold no longer works at the museum. Staff have received additional training with a new checklist and record-keeping instructions.
Mote Marine Lab has two manatees, and numerous other aquatic wildlife, at their research facility Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, at City Island off Lido Key.