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Trip Planner: USA / Florida / Apollo Beach / Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
Get up close to Florida's famous manatees at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center. In the cooler months, a large number of this endangered species seek refuge in the warm, clean water of Big Bend Power Station's discharge canal. Tampa Electric has set up a viewing area here where visitors can observe these gentle creatures. Watch them for a bit, and then enter the indoor education center to learn more about the manatees and power station. You'll be able to take part in activities and peruse information displays. Don’t miss the hurricane simulator, where you can experience the blast of strong winds and learn how Tampa Electric deals with serious storms. The many outdoor activities include an award-winning butterfly garden and a tidal walk. Put Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center and other Apollo Beach attractions into our Apollo Beach trip maker tool, and watch your holiday take shape.
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center reviews
Great experience and free! It's easy to park and walk to the manatee area. It's very well done with great paths and a good amount of space. There will be manatees depending on the time of year you go.... more
Great experience and free! It's easy to park and walk to the manatee area. It's very well done with great paths and a good amount of space. There will be manatees depending on the time of year you go.... more »
Very nice park, free and well kept viewing area but little to see in the cloudy water and the three manatees we did see were easily 85 yards off the platforms and barely visible. Perhaps it was just..... more
Very nice park, free and well kept viewing area but little to see in the cloudy water and the three manatees we did see were easily 85 yards off the platforms and barely visible. Perhaps it was just..... more »
Fabulous place and free. You can see the manatee in the wild usually btwn november and april. They visit as the water is warm. We were lucky enough to see 4. They also have a small museum and gift...
Fabulous place and free. You can see the manatee in the wild usually btwn november and april. They visit as the water is warm. We were lucky enough to see 4. They also have a small museum and gift... more »
Went here on December 26, 2022. This is a Nature Preserve where manatees in Tampa Bay are attracted to the warm waters of industrial canals. There was a wait time for cars to park at the Manatee Viewing Center, but we got patient and decided to wait. It was a busy day, but was still enjoyable. This experience is free! All the boardwalks and gravel paths are clean and maintained, but bathroom cleanliness can be improved. All the staff were volunteers and were very friendly. During our experience, we saw hundreds of manatees! It was a delight to see these manatees huddle together in a man made habitat. There are various signs educating people about the behavior of manatees and clean energy on the walking trails to the Observation Tower and Overflow Parking. Overall, is definitely worth the wait. Is great to see an organization that sincerely cares about our local wildlife and not looking for our money!
This was a really cool (free!) place to visit on a Saturday. The close parking lot was full so we parked in the overflow which ended being great because there is a little center over there with energy games and activities. Bathrooms as well. Then we took a leisurely stroll to the center. There were several manatees in the water and a stingray petting area. Lots of boardwalks and it's kind of cool to see the power plant up close. Lots of activities for young kids scattered about as well as informational signs. Staff were friendly and we had a great visit!
Yesterday was the second time that I got to experience and enjoy the Manatee Viewing center. The first time in February I got to see tons of manatees because they were kind of wintering there. Yesterday in April 2020 we took the time to walk the many nature trails there and go to the 50 foot high look-out observation tower! It was beautiful and worth the walk. I would suggest though taking a trail map if there is one because there are multiple trails and things to see. Well worth the trip! Highly recommend seeing this. Especially in the winter months, but really anytime. The educational center was really nice and great for children also the butterfly garden and other exhibits there as well!
A must visit in the area! Beautiful and one of a kind experience. Manatees and Sting Ray up close for photos and experiencing. Great bird watching and plant life viewing also. The staff were amazing and very knowledgeable about the animals and plants. The parking lot was crowded but easy to find. Handicap accessible throughout the center. We did not visit the gift shop due to the very long line to enter. Restrooms are available on site. Highly recommend for guests of all ages and interests!
Brought a family of 7. We all had a great time. Unfortunately it was too hot the day we went, the manatees were not visible, in the shade to stay cool. No issue, there a lot of other attractions to occupy all age groups. Walked the long pier to the water, where all the weather instruments are, saw the butterflies, touched a stingray, saw a lot of different birds, went in the hurricane wind speed machine, and had an ice cream!! Parking and entry to view all attractions are free!! We all had a great time. Definitely will be back!
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