As it’s been everywhere, the past 1 1/2 years have been quite the rollercoaster for our friends at Tarpon Bay Explorers.
To cope with the consequences of the pandemic, the staff had to put their popular Breakfast Cruises on hold. In addition, the attraction’s famiy-friendly Touch Tanks were transformed into hands-off aquarium presentations, where visitors were no longer able to personally handle the tanks’ marine creatures.
Thankfully, TBE recently announced that their Breakfast Cruises and Touch Tanks are back to normal operations.
The cruises are held on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. The first hour of the tour is a boat ride around the bay in pursuit of birds, manatees and dolphins. A continental-style breakfast is provided, including fresh doughnuts from Bailey’s General Store, plus coffee, tea and orange juice. The last half hour is spent at the touch tanks, where attendees get a hands-on experience learning about wildlife that lives on the bottom of the bay.
“We are excited to get all of our tours up and running again,” part-owner and General Manager Wendy Schnapp said. “I think we all need a little bit of normalcy back in our daily routine, and it seems like we are getting there one step at a time.”
The tanks run in conjunction with all of TBE’s cruise programs. A designated Touch Tank Program is held daily at 3:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about the wildlife that lives at the bottom of the estuary, such as crustaceans, sea stars and live shells.
The official concession to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers provides recreational and educational opportunities, including guided tours, rentals and cruises. It also has a nature-themed gift shop available. For more information, call 239-472-8900.
Fun Fact: As a partner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TBE gives back 12 percent of their proceeds to national wildlife refuges across the country!