TECO’s Manatee Viewing Center Opens for its 30th Season!

manatee-news-11-15-2016The Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center is open with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected during its 30th season now through April 15th. Admission is free. November is Manatee Awareness Month! Photo Courtesy – Tampa Electric

Greetings! I have some awesome news for you! The Manatee Viewing Center located at Tampa Electric’s Apollo Beach is now open through April 15th. It’s that time of year when once again water temperatures in Tampa Bay start falling below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. And all of my manatee buddies in that area of Florida start making a beeline into the warm and balmy discharge waters of Tampa Electric.

The result? You get to visit us at the Manatee Viewing Center! Jamie Woodlee, Senior Environmental Technician over operations explained, “We offer families and out-of-town visitors a slice of Florida in a small space. It’s a free, fun and educational experience and an opportunity for them to learn how industry and nature works (harmoniously) side by side. We’re looking forward to another record-breaking season.” Jamie continued and said, “Guests can see manatees, fish, rays, seabirds, crabs, mangroves, an estuary – essentially anything they might see in Tampa Bay – during their visits.”

You’re in for a real treat when you visit the Manatee Viewing Center! Not only does it have a very cool 40-foot observation tower that overlooks Tampa Bay, the Center also has a “self-guided nature trail with up-close views of varied plant and wildlife habitats, interactive education center, butterfly garden and Florida-friendly plants garden, some changes introduced over the summer are sure to please new and returning guests.” Woodlee said.

Ms. Woodlee continued and said, “The most exciting one is a 10,000-gallon, 600-square foot touch tank built to hold 15 South Atlantic and cow nose rays.” We will be the winter home for the rays that live at Tropicana Field during the summer. The tank won’t be ready for occupancy until late November. Florida Aquarium personnel will care for the rays and man the (tank area) to provide information and answer questions about them.”

Additionally, the Manatee Viewing Center made more changes this past summer, which included “widening the boardwalk leading to the manatee viewing platforms (now ADA-compliant), remodeling the 10-year old concession, enlarging and modernizing the upstairs restrooms, adding three small boardwalks to flood prone sections of the nature trail, adding new items in the gift shop.” You can get my Kobee Manatee books there too!

During its 30th season, the Manatee Viewing Center is looking forward to celebrating its 5 Millionth visitor! The center is open now through April 15th. Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center is located at…

6990 Dickman Road

Apollo Beach, Florida

Hours: 10am to 5pm seven days a week through April 15th. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It also closes at 3pm on Christmas Eve.

Admission and parking are free. If you would like more information, please call 813-228-4289. Here is their web address: tampaelectric.com/manatee

So join me and let’s continue celebrating Manatee Awareness Month together and help spread the word about us manatees – Florida’s official state marine mammal!

If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.

Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …


Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …


~ Kobee Manatee