Enjoy the 31st Annual Manatee Festival

Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 2:25PM

For locals and visitors who have a passion for community improvement and environmental awareness—and, of course, a love of manatees—the 31st annual Manatee Festival is the place to be this January.

Below, we’re looking at the meaningful message behind this beloved annual festival, and sharing the ways you can participate.

The Manatee Festival is a fundraiser that benefits the Orange City community, Blue Spring State Park and other community organizations. It strives to raise community awareness of needs within the city and the environment, using one of Florida’s most characteristically cute mascots—the manatee—to help promote their cause. Money raised by the event goes to a variety of recipients, including educational scholarships, police and fire departments, the library, Make a Wish and others.

Guests who attend the festival aren’t just supporting a good cause, however—they’re having fun in the process! There is a wide assortment of activities for the whole family to enjoy during the festival. These include Central Florida Zoo presentations, shows and rides for kids, sand sculpting, face painting, rock wall climbing, bungee jumping… and much more! There will also be SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) adoptions being held on site, making this year’s festival the perfect opportunity for those looking to expand their family and welcome in a new furry family member.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Manatee Festival without a few manatees! Fortunately, the festival is providing guests a chance to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat. While at the festival, guests will be able to take a free shuttle bus to nearby Blue Spring State Park to see the manatees themselves. Seeing and experiencing the manatees in their home environment is an experience you can’t get just anywhere, so be sure to enjoy it with loved ones during the festival.

A handful of adopted manatees call Blue Spring State Park “home.” Each of these gentle spirited animals—often known as “sea cows”—has a unique story to share. You can visit the festival website, themanateefestival.com, to read up on these stories and learn more about manatees in Florida.

The 31st annual Manatee Festival takes place January 23rd and 24th at Orange City’s Valentine Park. Tickets are $8 for adults and $2 for kids under 10 (with admission being free for kids 3 and under). And if you don’t want to leave your beloved Fido at home, you’re in luck! The festival offers admission for your furry friends at $10. Be sure to visit themanateefestival.com for information on directions and festival events, as well as printable coloring pages and coupons for free kids’ admission.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s festival!

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