PLUS, It's all an illusion at Orlando's newest attraction.
Channel image for Pulptown

🚤 The real story about Florida’s Trump manatee

PLUS, It's all an illusion at Orlando's newest attraction.

It’s Wednesday.

And there’s a lot to discuss. From the Florida manatee that’s making its rounds around the national news circuit to getting a COVID-19 vaccine to the new Museum of Illusions at ICON Park, we’re running the gamut today on hot topics and we’re starting with this news about the future of Lake Eola… 

@orlandolandtrust needs your help in order to purchase the southwest corner of Lake Eola Park. If they raise $85K in the next 60 days, the space will be deeded to the City of Orlando and converted to green park space, protecting it from future big development. | Head to to make a donation or for additional information. | h/t to @lakeeola for the heads up! (📸: @lakeeola)

What Orlando is talking about  

And not even just Orlando… the whole world is talking about the case of the manatee with the word “Trump” scrawled on its side. 

Here’s what we’ve learned: 

  • The sighting in Florida this week of a manatee with letters spelling out “Trump” on its back has not only sparked a media frenzy but also prompted an investigation and a reward for proper conviction.
  • The story originally broke in the Citrus County Chronicle on Monday.
  • According to the Washington Post, Hailey Warrington was the first person to discover the manatee while out operating a manatee boat tour in the Homosassa River. That's when she noticed the sleeping manatee with the president’s name on its body. She took photos and videos of the sea cow and sent them to local law enforcement.
  • Since then, the Center for Biological Diversity posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction “for the cruel and illegal mutilation” of a threatened manatee, initially stating that the word had been “carved” into the manatee’s back and would appear to have caused significant scarring.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission quickly followed suit and opened an investigation. They have since found that the manatee does not appear to be seriously injured “as it seems the word was written in algae on the animal’s back.” 
  • Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, reviewed the photos and said, “You can scratch that away with your fingernails” and “That can happen without cutting into the manatee’s hide, which is pretty tough.” BUT STILL.

Regardless of whether or not the manatee was maimed, it's still a state and federal crime to harass manatees and officials are continuing to investigate the incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call a hotline at 1-844-397-8477 or email FWS_TIPS@FWS.GOV.

It's worth noting that according to state reports, 637 manatees were found dead in Florida last year. And that's 59 more manatees than the 5-year average, with boaters being among the biggest threats to our beloved sea cows. There are currently at least 7,520 manatees alive here today.

In other news… 

Local law enforcement agencies said they will monitor social media and online platforms after the FBI warned of potential security threats following last Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol. There are concerns of additional armed protests planned at Washington, D.C., and state capitol buildings across the country between now and Jan. 20. (ClickOrlando

Orange County officials voted yesterday on whether or not to merge its Code Enforcement division with its Neighborhood Services Division. According to this Sentinel article, Code enforcement works to keep residential properties from becoming neighborhood eyesores while the Neighborhood Services division also addresses community improvement — but without punitive measures. The merger would rebrand code enforcement as code compliance, and the goal is to soften said punitive measures while working more collaboratively to get resources into the neighborhoods. (Orlando Sentinel

The Museum of Illusions is now open at ICON Park. The “mind-bending” experience held its grand opening on Saturday and is apparently as much a learning experience as it is a fun one. Each exhibit has a sign that also explains the actual science behind it. (Orlando Sentinel

Tonight’s Orlando Magic game against the Boston Celtics in Boston has been postponed due to COVID-19 within the Celtics organization. It’s the first game the Magic has had to cancel this season. (WESH)

In COVID-19 news: 

We’re going to keep it quick today. Here’s what you need to know: 

Invest in thoughtful, community-centric journalism by signing up as a Pulptown+ member today. (📸: @pulptown)

🤝 Let’s level up

If you’re still trying to decide whether becoming a Pulptown+ member is worth the investment, we get it. (And maybe we can help convince you now).

We want to share what we’ve heard from our members about why they choose to support us with a Pulptown+ membership:

“I'm a big fan of any effort to promote all that Orlando has to offer and Pulptown's daily reminders do just that. Pulptown has also proven to be a great community partner, particularly in my work with Orange County Library System. Becoming a member is my way of saying, ‘Good on you.’" —Scottie C.

If you aren’t a member yet, here’s how to sign up for just $8/month!

Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.


🗣️ Learn how purpose-driven business leaders can model MLK to embed DEI in their company cultures. (Online)

👟 Go for a run with the Hourglass Brewing Running Club weekly (Curry Ford/Longwood)

☮️ Head outdoors for this yoga and HIIT pop-up class (Lake Eola)

🗣 The city of Sanford wants to hear from you in this virtual community workshop (Online)

🛍 Shop the Orlando Vegan Market pop-up at the Veranda every other Wednesday (Thornton Park)

🗣 Hear from Rep. Anna Eskamani and other local officials about the latest unemployment legislation and how to fix a broken system (Online)


😁 Learn more about mindful intimacy with this Tantra 101 class (Orlando)

🥬 Bring your appetite (and your mask) to this vegan food tour of the "Almond" Milk District (Milk District)

🗣 Join University of Central Florida’s Matthieu Baudelet, Ph.D., for a 30-minute live presentation, Learning From Lasers: Uncovering Pompeii With Chemical Laser Analysis, followed by a Q&A (Online)

🗣 Tune in to a virtual lecture with interdisciplinary conceptual artist, Patricia Cronin, and learn how art history has inspired her feminist artistic practice for over 25 years. *This webinar is FREE, but attendees must register in advance (Online)


🛍 Peruse miles of antiques at this outdoor collectors' extravaganza through Sunday (Mount Dora)

🎭 Mad Cow Theatre presents extraordinary tales of the women of Pompeii on their outdoor stage on Church Street. In between small plates and perfectly paired wines, ancient music and haunting stories spill forth, along with a feisty combat scene and a beautiful dance through Saturday (Downtown)


🍻 Enjoy local art, crafts, food, and music from all over Central Florida while trying Orlando Brewing's new beer release to finish off Orlando Beer Week (SODO)

🍺 Celebrate nine years of Gnarly Barley's tasty sammies and good brew (Belle Isle)


🛍 Shop local makers at the Bazaar Botanica happening at Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company (Ivanhoe)

🛶 Take a paddle tour of Dog Island and add in some much-needed yoga for this outdoor excursion (Maitland)


⚽️ Cheer on the USWNT to a win over Colombia in the first international friendly of the year (Parramore)

🎶 Check out this local jazz ensemble in City Arts' latest In-Between Series (Downtown

That’s all for today

Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

We’ll see you again tomorrow! 

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

P.S. Did today’s newsletter make you laugh? Cry? Teach you something new today? If you know a friend/coworker/Orlandoan who should know about Pulptown, why not do us (and them) a solid and forward this email? 😉