The Manatee Observation and Education Center (MOEC) represents FPUA’s long-time commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship. Through MOEC, we promote understanding and responsible actions for the protection of the Treasure Coast’s fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants. We do this because we believe that quality of life, which is our mission, is enhanced not only through access to reliable utilities, but also through a thriving, community-supported natural environment. MOEC reaches over 55,000 people each year, including over 35,000 visitors and over 4,000 students.
The Center lies just west of the Atlantic Ocean and straddles the nationally-recognized Indian River Lagoon, a saltwater estuary, and Moore’s Creek, a freshwater tributary. The site is a historical congregating place for Florida manatees as a result of warm water effluent from the long-retired Henry B. King Power Plant. While the plant is no longer there, it continues to be a congregating place for manatees and visitors alike.
Come inside the Center to learn about manatees and other wild animals, Florida’s diverse habitats, and much more. Volunteer docents will immerse you in the world of marine life, coastal vegetation, and lagoon habitats through hands-on exhibits and colorful displays that are both fun and educational.
Outside, the Observation Walkway and Wildlife Observation Tower will provide you with the opportunity to view manatees in their native habitat. Stand along the covered observation walkway or climb the second story observation tower for your chance to see Florida’s “Gentle Giants” resting or playing in Moore’s Creek. You may also see a variety of other wildlife including the bottlenose dolphin, mullet, brown pelicans, and terns. Stroll through the Center’s gardens where red, yellow, and purple flowers abound. We are striving to replace exotic plants with native plants to attract Florida’s colorful butterflies. Visit our latest installment – the Florida native butterfly garden – complete with accessible hand-constructed arbors, mosaic benches from local artists, and more along the beautiful Moore’s Creek in Downtown Fort Pierce.
You can also connect to our environment through conservation programs, camps, kayaking trips and eco-boat tours led by the local Swampland Tours. MOEC also takes its environmental show on the road to schools and special events, strengthening our community’s understanding of how life on land connects to the water.
The Manatee Center opened its doors in 1996 as St. Lucie County’s first not-for-profit environmental education center. With a grant from the Florida Inland Navigational District, MOEC served as the cornerstone of Fort Pierce’s revitalization and was spearheaded by Mainstreet Fort Pierce, the City of Fort Pierce, and FPUA, with support from business and community leaders.
Through volunteer initiatives, citizen involvement, community, business and governmental partnerships, both MOEC and FPUA are committed to conservation efforts by educating and promoting the importance of environmental stewardship.