The Florida Conservation and Technology Center immerses visitors in the state's unique ecosystem and offers a behind-the-scenes look at efforts to help it thrive. The "theme" of this "park" is the real Florida, and how we can help preserve it through – you guessed it – conservation and technology!
The 500-acre campus is a showcase for stewardship, research, habitat restoration, help for endangered species, education – and yes, fun! The Center is the collaboration of three champions of the environment: Tampa Electric, the Florida Aquarium and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
6990 Dickman Rd., Apollo Beach, FL 33572
Open 10am to 5pm, November 1 - April 15
Admission and Parking are Free
Well-maintained walking trails connect the campus and close at 4pm.
Guests can download this map into the free Avenza map application to see their exact location on the FCTC campus.
What's there to see and do at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center? Here's a quick look at what each environmental partner offers. Please visit each partner's link for more information
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
If you want a perfect spot to watch manatees gather, without being in or on the water, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center is the best place to be! A system of boardwalks offers great vantage points to watch the gentle giants do their thing – which, spoiler alert, isn't much! The manatees meet here because the nearby Big Bend power station circulates water from Tampa Bay for cooling, then sends the water flowing clean and warm back into the bay. In the winter months, the manatees leave colder waters in favor of the warm and welcoming refuge.
Snouts up! The Center is more than just manatees – there's also a stingray touch tank, an educational center, walking trails, wildlife observation tower and much more!
The Clean Energy Center is an open-air shaded pavilion powered by a combination of solar, wind and the grid. It has four fun, interactive games and kids can see for themselves how solar and wind energy can be harnessed and stored. An on-site laboratory monitors the energy collected and distributed from the center's solar and wind generation.
What's there to see and do?
The Clean Energy Center is just what its name suggests! The Key West-style building overlooks a "solar flower" that slowly moves to track the sun as it soaks up energy. A wind turbine near the parking lot converts any available wind to energy.
Kids (and adults!) can learn more about those clean energy sources – and much more – with interactive, touch-screen games inside the open-air pavilion:
- Energy Explorers – go on a geocaching adventure by following a map, finding the clues and scanning the codes
- Flower Power – take control of a virtual solar collector and discover what it takes to power a town
- ReCharge – challenge your friends to an energy production race with pedal power
- Whack the Energy Wasters – see how fast you can eliminate "energy wasters" and how much you'll save
There's much to see, do and learn at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center. Be sure to stop by the Clean Energy Center when you visit!
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium's conservation campus at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center is home to the Aquarium's Coral Conservation Center, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, various research and water quality testing laboratories and five pollinator gardens. Visitors can observe much of the work in-action, including sea turtles foraging in a one-of-a-kind deep-dive pool.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission operates the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center (SYCC) at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center. The SYCC provides field trips and scheduled recreational activities for youth and families such as kayaking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. Visitors can also check out its Marine Fisheries Enhancement Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. There is one parking lot located between the Clean Energy Center and the Center for Conservation. There is another parking lot located at the Manatee Viewing Center. Both parking lots are accessed from Dickman Road.
A. Yes. In addition, food and beverages are available for purchase at the Manatee Viewing Center concession. Alcohol is not allowed.
A. Yes. Most guests plan to spend two to four hours.