BRADENTON, Fla. — The three manatees that have been rehabilitating at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature are leaving Manatee County ... for now.

  • Museum closing rehabilitation habitat to complete upgrades
  • Improvements expected to be completed by September
  • Museum will offer $3 discount on admission while habitat closed
  • More Manatee County stories

The museum is temporarily closing their rehabilitation habitat in order to complete upgrades. Two manatees, named Slate and Obsidian, arrived at The Bishop in April. They were both transported to Zoo Tampa on Tuesday to continue with their rehabilitation. 

A third Manatee, O’Neil, was transported to SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday morning. He's been under the care of marine mammal specialists at The Bishop Museum since 2018. 

While the manatees are away, workers will be making improvements to the viewing glass and adding a new custom-made gate to the underwater habitat. 

The upgrades were part of the museum's capital improvement plan and not in response to Snooty's 2017 death, said Remi Gonzalez, The Bishop's communication director. 

It is not clear if Slate, Obsidian, or O’Neil will return to The Bishop after the renovations are complete. 

"We can't control when animals are going to need our help," Gonzalez said.  "So in all likelihood when we reopen in mid-September we will have a whole new set of manatees. But that's up to the manatees that need our help. It could be the same boys we had before or it could be a whole new set," she said. 

Improvements are expected to be completed in September. After that, the exhibit will reopen. 

In the meantime, the museum is offering a $3 discount on admission.