Improved, award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Tuesday for the season
TAMPA, October 31, 2011
Tampa Electric’s improved, award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Tuesday for the 2011-2012 season. Admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free.
This year, the center includes several improvements:
· Tampa Electric is tripling the size of the center’s viewing platform over the canal – to improve pedestrian traffic flow and to increase the number of people who can view the manatees at one time.
· Tampa Electric is constructing a golf-cart path from the Community Event Site to the center, to allow traffic for electric carts. This will increase the safety for center visitors. Construction will be complete in coming months.
· The Manatee Viewing Center was recently awarded the Community Water-Wise Award from Tampa Bay Water for its Florida-friendly landscape design. Its drought-resistant trees and plants attract native flowers and butterflies while conserving water.
“We’re excited about the recent improvements to the center, which has seen more than 3 million visitors in its 25 years,” said Stanley Kroh, manager of land and water programs at Tampa Electric. “Visitors love learning about the endangered manatees, and they love this unique nature-watching destination.”
When the water temperature of Tampa Bay is 68 degrees or colder, manatees gather in the clean, warm water discharge canal of Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station, sometimes by the hundreds. Manatee Viewing Center visitors can see the mammals up close from multiple boardwalks and vantage points.
The manatees have gathered in the canal to find refuge from the cold since the early 1970s. The 50-acre Manatee Viewing Center has hosted more than 3 million visitors since 1986 and welcomes about 14,000 schoolchildren each season.
The Manatee Viewing Center’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day from Nov. 1 through April 15, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The facility is accessible to people with disabilities, and parking and admission are free. Visit the center online at www.tampaelectric.com/manatee or call 813-228-4289 for more information.Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . Tampa Electric serves more than 672,000 customers in West Central Florida. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and