Betsy Speaks: We spent the day in Fort Pierce, having arrived yesterday afternoon. On our way yesterday we saw the DirectTV Blimp, probably heading to Miami for the Superbowl…earlier in the week while near Boca we had seen the Goodyear Blimp overhead.
This morning we walked to the Manatee Learning Center right next to the marina. They had just let a group of school kids in so we were told we would need to come back later if we wanted to watch the movie about manatees. The admission fee is only $1.00, and as usual, you get what you pay for! There really wasn’t much there…a few aquariums with small fish, starfish, a seahorse, etc. The displays were definitely geared toward small children.
The center is right next to a canal that used to handle discharge from a power plant. Manatees tend to congregate near power plants during cold weather because the water is warmer there. Unfortunately for the learning center, this power plant has been moved, so the huge mammals are no longer here in the large numbers they used to have. But it seems some of the manatees still come here looking for where the warmer water used to be, and we did see a couple today. They only come up for a few seconds at a time, so it is very hard to get a good picture of them, but here are our best attempts.
We left the manatee center for a few hours, then went back this afternoon to see the movie, which was made in 1983 and was so outdated it was pathetic! As I said before, we got our dollars worth and no more! But upon leaving the center and walking along the canal right next to it we did see another manatee, or maybe the same one we had seen before still just hanging around.
We walked next door to where the Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Information Center is, but were dismayed to find it is closed…apparently for good. I had wanted to ask about public transportation to the beach or to a shopping center…we’re trying to replace the lost camera. Through the window we could see racks of brochures that might have been helpful but we couldn’t get to them! Other people had actually left notes on the door expressing their disappointment that this facility was closed during the high tourist season.
As we walked away, I was able to flag down a city employee in a car that indicated he was with public works. He called someone to inquire about public transportation, saying that hard economic times had caused the closure of the tourist info center. He did say they had had so many complaints that they were trying very hard to come up with funds to reopen it. I never was able to find transportation to the beach or to shopping, so we just hung around this beautiful marina and enjoyed the beautiful day.
I’m disappointed that we’ve been on the east coast of Florida for over a week and we haven’t seen the beach yet! We did get a brief glimpse of the ocean when our nephew drove us to dinner in Boca Raton, but we’ve not had the opportunity to walk the beaches of Florida that I hear are beautiful! It is unfortunate that all the marinas we’ve seen so far have been on the west side of the waterway, with no visible transient dockage on the east side so that we could walk or bike to the beach.
Fort Pierce has so much potential with its beautiful waterfront parks, the manatee center, a library right next to the marina, and many nearby restaurants. But how nice it would be to have a trolley or bus to the beach or shopping. Even though we are right downtown, my quick ride through town on the bike when we first got here showed very little in the way of shopping opportunities…just lots of lawyers and banks!
So tomorrow we will move on to Melbourne, probably our final stop before going to Titusville for the shuttle launch on February 7.
By the way, we had changed the format of the pictures in the blog for a few days, and that prevented you from clicking on the picture and enlarging it. Several of our regular readers commented that they liked being able to enlarge the pictures, so we have gone back to the original format. We want our readers to be able to blow us up if they wish!!