PORT MANATEE -- May is over, which means the tour trolley cars at Port Manatee are on summer hiatus.
Just in time to get out of the summer heat, the tour tram will be garaged until October. It's a well-earned rest for the equipment and tour guides, who took more than 3,000 visitors on in-depth tours of the port's facilities over the past eight months. The number of visitors represents 24-percent increase in tram tour traffic at the port over the previous tour season.
Held every Monday and Wednesday morning mid October through May, the tour takes visitors throughout the developed portion of the port's 1,100 acres of property. Visitors get to visit the berths where ships dock, warehouses and storage and fuel yards.
Port Manatee is the only one of Florida's 15 deepwater ports that offer regular, scheduled tours for the public, said port spokeswoman Virginia Zimmermann.
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When tours do resume, those interested in taking the tram tour must make reservations at least a week in advance. Groups are limited to 75 people. Visitors taking the tour must provide their dates of birth, contact information and photo identification. Tours can be booked at portmanatee.com.