Bradenton’s favorite manatee turned 69 this week and like every year, his birthday party drew big crowds.
Asa Wright has been visiting Snooty since she was born, the smiling 11-year-old said Saturday.
“I come every year,” Asa said moments after everyone at the Aquarium sang happy birthday to the beloved manatee.
Her grandmother Elaine Strasburg added, “ So did her mom, and so did her mom’s dad.”
Strasburg said the family had been reminiscing about Snooty earlier in the day, about how when her grandfather was a child the museum allowed children to feed Snooty.
“They don’t let them do that anymore,” Strasburg said.
But Asa was still happy to see Snooty.
“He’s big, real big,” the girl said. “It’s really fun and it’s family friendly. The museum is really cool, but Snooty is the best.”
Hundreds of families descended upon the South Florida Museum on Saturday for their annual Snooty Birthday Bash and Wildlife Festival.
And what’s a birthday party with birthday cake? Crowds packed into the upper level of the Parker Manatee Aquarium and sang happy birthday to Snooty.
For his 69th birthday, Snooty got a rainbow-layered cake made of pineapples, strawberries, watermelon, beets, apples, carrots, celery, broccoli and blueberries.
“Snooty is having an excellent time and so is everyone here,” museum communications manager Jessica Schubick said. “We have games, activities, lots of wildlife organizations to tell us what they do in the community.”
The new Snooty mascot was roaming the bash, taking photos with people and giving hugs.
“So we’re having a great day, and we want to thank everyone who make this day happen,” Schubick added.
Celebrating with Snooty this year were rescue manatees Randall, Gale and Baca, who enjoyed their fresh lettuce as Snooty got first dibs on his birthday cake.
Gabe Shimmin, 12, didn’t get to sing happy birthday to Snooty but was looking forward to seeing him for the first time.
“My mom used to come here for every summer,” Gabe said. “So that’s why we moved here.”
Originally from Colorado, Gabe was enjoying Mote’s traveling aquarium.
“It was cool,” Gabe said after touching a starfish. “It feels really weird.”
Kim Gibson, 49, also met Snooty for the first time Saturday along with her grandchildren and her niece from Ohio.
“This is awesome,” Gibson said. “This whole setup is awesome.”
She stood in awe looking at all the fanfare over Snooty’s birthday.
“I think I’m right there with them,” Gibson said. “The kids are having a great time.”