Manatee Critical Care Center

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Saturday, February 18 at 10 a.m.

Join us as we formally open the first-ever Manatee Critical Care Center in Northeast Florida. As one of only four facilities in the State, this center fills a critical need for the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees in Northeast Florida. 

Schedule of Events:

- Celebration Parade - Led by children of the Discovery School
- Guest Speakers and Acknowledgments
- Ribbon Cutting

The 2nd Annual Manatee Festival will take place inside the Zoo from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

About the Manatee Critical Care Facility
The charismatic state marine mammal of Florida is endangered and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is here to help. Committed to saving endangered species that live right in our backyard, JZG is in the process of constructing the first ever manatee critical care center in northeast Florida. Though found in the waterways around the First Coast, any manatee that becomes cold-stressed or injured needs to be transported to other care centers in Orlando, Tampa or Miami. 

Building a critical care center in northeast Florida will provide more immediate care for the already-stressed animals and also cut down on transport distance and time for state employees and volunteers.

The $2.1 million center was funded by private individuals who recognized the need for a care center in the region, and a $500,000 grant from the State of Florida. Built to hold 5-6 animals at a time (pending each animal’s individual situation), the center will provide temporary housing and care for manatees until they are healthy enough to be returned to the location they were found.

Located at the juncture of the Education campus, Wild Florida and the back of the gorilla exhibit, the center will provide limited and periodic views of manatees for Zoo guests and offer behind-the-scenes tours. However, due to the center only providing temporary housing, there may be times no manatees are present in the pools.  



Recent Rendering of the Manatee Critical Care Center (drawing not to specifications).