Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach

4.6
#28 of 1,976 in Wildlife in Florida
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
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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.
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Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
2,943 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We were so excited to make the drive and see the manatee viewing center. It was listed as being open today until 5 pm. We felt like the Griswolds when they pulled up to Wally World! Closed for the....  more
    We were so excited to make the drive and see the manatee viewing center. It was listed as being open today until 5 pm. We felt like the Griswolds when they pulled up to Wally World! Closed for the....  more »
  • Very nice. No fees to park or visit. At least one trail for hiking. But, sadly, no Manatees. One person said it was because the water in the Gulf was now warmer. There were some fairly large... 
    Very nice. No fees to park or visit. At least one trail for hiking. But, sadly, no Manatees. One person said it was because the water in the Gulf was now warmer. There were some fairly large...  more »
Google
  • This is one of my favorite "tourist attractions" around here. It's beautiful, not too built up (but building more! 😁) And just has an amazing atmosphere. I love the sting ray touch tank. The long pier is amazing to walk down and see all the fish. The countless times we've seen all sorts of wildlife there, plus the GIFT SHOP IS CHEAP. The snack bar is cheap, and has decent "snacks." The bathrooms are always clean. It's a well taken care of place. :)
  • I went to the center near the end of December. The manatee center is part of a nature preserve on the east side of Tampa Bay, located at the west end of Big Bend Rd. Parking is located just south of Big Bend Rd. Admission and parking to the center is free. There are several refreshment stands for some drink and food. There are also some information and kid fun type booths as well as nature trails ideal for a walk. The main viewing area is on a boardwalk and decking area facing the waterway adjacent to the power plant. The power plant uses the water to cool down some of it's equipment and returns the warmed up water back into the waterway. It's this warmer water which attracts the Manatees during the cooler months. On the day I was there, at least 30 Manatees we're within eye site as well as a small shark and several small groups of tarpon. A great place to spend and hour or two.

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