Ocean lovers, dive in to celebrations

Coastal Community Celebration

Ocean lovers can celebrate their favorite waters this week at events in Cortez and Palmetto in honor of World Oceans Day.

World Oceans Day – Friday, June 8 – was established at the 1992 Earth Summit, and was declared an international holiday by the United Nations in 2009 as a reminder of how important the ocean is to people everywhere.

The Florida Maritime Museum and Manatee County are offering two ways to participate.

Florida Maritime Museum, Cortez

Join the Coastal Community Celebration on Thursday, June 7 from 6-8 p.m. at the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez.

During this free, family fun evening, FMM invites the community to celebrate the grand opening of the Burton/Bratton Store by participating in activities for kids and adults.

Beginning at 6 p.m., hear a brief history of the historic store, its importance in Cortez maritime history and its continued legacy as The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.

After the ribbon-cutting, wander the museum grounds to find crafts and interactive activities exploring ocean pollution, commercial fishing, sea turtles and more, all relating to the important ecosystem that is the ocean.

Continue your journey inside the museum to discover the new exhibit, “The Meaning Behind Maritime,” where community members reveal what maritime means to them on 3-by-3 canvases. Then add what maritime means to you during your visit.

For more information, visit the museum’s Facebook page.

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources, Palmetto

The Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department will host the second annual World Oceans Day Festival on Saturday, June 9 at Emerson Point Preserve. The free festival will kick off at 9 a.m. and continue until noon.

The festival is a fun, family-friendly event celebrating the salty seas. A variety of free ocean-themed activities will be available for participants to learn about World Oceans Day.

You can dip nets into the waters of the Manatee River and discover the creatures hiding beneath the waves. Learn amazing facts about large marine wildlife, including sea turtles. Play oyster games and explore the history of fishing in Manatee County. Participants also will get a chance to touch a boat and paddle in a kayak.

The festival is a partnership between Manatee County and other water- and ocean-related organizations in Southwest Florida. This year’s partners include the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, IFAS Extension Sea Grant of Manatee County, Florida Maritime Museum, WayneAdventures, Florida Public Archaeology Network and Manatee County’s Environmental Protection Division and Ecological and Marine Services Division.

Emerson Point Preserve, a 365-acre preserve at 5801 17th St. W., Palmetto, is at the mouth of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay where the salt and fresh waters meet as an estuary. The location of the preserve provides Manatee County residents and visitors with a place to relax and enjoy a serene experience, kayaking, fishing and wildlife watching, including osprey, egrets, jumping mullet, raccoons and dolphins.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.