Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 65, low 52)
The cold front is still sticking around, but it looks like we’ll be back up to the upper 70’s tomorrow.
Cold weather brings the Florida manatee to warmer water, so we figured yesterday would be a good day to go to Big Ben Power Plant in nearby Apollo Beach.
We usually go there every year or two.
We hopped on I-75 and made the drive south. We find it’s much easier to use the interstate nowadays because the traffic is horrible. It can take 15 minutes to go 5 miles to the grocery store. Red light, red light, red light. Too many snowbirds, too many people.
Back in the 80’s the power plant started noticing manatee hanging out by the warm water discharge areas, during periods of cold weather. After a manatee got caught in one of their water intake areas, they made changes to prevent it happening in the future. To their credit, they built a wonderful manatee viewing center with trails, viewing areas, and an a visitor center with interactive games for the kids. The best thing (besides the manatee) is that it’s FREE!
We pulled into the parking lot and noticed these solar trees.
6 of these trees can power two houses for a year. Nice idea, but can you imagine how many trees we’d need?
If you have an electric car, you can plug in here and get a charge. For a FEE!
So much for free solar power, huh?
It felt wicked cold yesterday, mostly due to the wind. Of course there were a few northerners in shorts and t-shirts.
The kids were sure enjoying the games they had in the visitor center.
There were plenty of manatee hanging out by the warm water discharge areas. They have built a wonderful overlook area where you can get a good view of the water.
This one loved to lay on her back and chill. She would float around on her back, turn over once in a while, then be right back on her back again. Isn’t she cute?
Manatee often turn over and float for a few seconds, but she was unusual staying on her back most of the time.
The Manatee Rescue group was out tagging manatee.
An article we read in the paper this morning said that they released a manatee there yesterday (must have been before we got there, darn it). It had been captured the previous year after suffering from cold stress. It rehabilitated at Lowry Park Zoo. Sure wish we would have been there for the release. I wonder if it was Miss Back floater? She sure seemed to be happy.
There were a lot of manatee there, but with the wind and cold, we didn’t take too much time taking pictures.
Only one was posing for us anyway. :)
Here is a picture I borrowed from the web showing the concentration of manatee during cold months.
This is a more flattering picture of the Florida manatee. Cute, aren’t they?
We drove over to a nearby nature trail, but unfortunately it was closed for rehabilitation. It seemed to be poor timing.
I’m sure everybody has seen Grumpy Cat”
Have you seen Grumpy Man?
(sorry Al, I couldn’t resist) This was taken shortly after he had his surgery and he was a bit grumpy.