Florida manatees love and need warm waters. They are large, plant-eating, warm-blooded marine mammals found in Florida's shallow coastal waters, rivers and springs. Looking for shelter from the cold when the Tampa Bay water temperature falls below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the manatees congregate in the discharge canal between the Manatee Viewing Center and Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, Fla.
Opened in 1986, the Manatee Viewing Center provides manatees with an area of clean and warm water to survive the winter months and also offers the public a natural environment to enjoy as well as free educational and entertaining programs and shows.
Visitors to the Manatee Viewing Center have the rare opportunity to watch manatees swim in the waters and to observe their slow and gentle moves and manners. Exploring the Manatee Viewing Center’s site, visitors will find mangroves, a butterfly garden, birds, marine wildlife and other natural Florida habitats. While a hurricane simulator allows visitors to experience what a hurricane feels like, visitors can also participate in interactive displays for a new learning experience, play games, listen to presentations, check out the gift shop and stop at the snack bar.
The Manatee Viewing Center is located at 6990 Dickman Road in Apollo Beach. Its season runs from Nov. 1 until April 15, and its opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter.
For directions to the Manatee Viewing Center, click here.
For more information, go to: http://www.tampaelectric.com/manatee/
or call: 813-228-4289