The focal point of the Manatee Courtyard is a bronze sculpture of a manatee, commissioned in 1990 by the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation during the tenure of Governor and Mrs. Bob Martinez. The sculpture's intent was to draw attention to the beauty of our endangered Florida mammal, and hopefully increase awareness of its need for protection. As you can imagine, with all the formal furnishings of the Governor's Mansion, the courtyard's manatee sculpture appeals to both the young and the young-at-heart.
The garden's lovely patio area, including the koi pond and fountain for Manatee Dance, provides a relaxing respite during receptions and tours. This courtyard is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. The virtual tour shown above was photographed prior to the addition of the Florida library at the west side of the mansion in 2006.
The Manatee Sculpture Courtyard is a favorite spot for many visitors of the mansion. The garden's name is due to the bronze sculpture of five graceful manatees that sits in the courtyard. The sculpture is the first major piece of art to be exclusively commissioned for the mansion and was a creation of Hugh Nicholson entitled, Manatee Dance.