News Release

Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center Opens for Season Friday, Nov. 1

Nearly 6 million visitors have come through the center since it opened in 1986

TAMPA, October 29, 2019

Tampa Electric’s award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Friday for its 34th season.

As always, admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free. And the Manatee Viewing Center’s boardwalks are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act for our guests’ convenience.

“The Manatee Viewing Center proves that you really can have fun while learning about the natural treasures of Florida,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for Tampa Electric. “We’re proud to be the showcase for Tampa Electric’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”

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. Each season, the 50-acre Manatee Viewing Center draws nearly 400,000 visitors – for a total of nearly 6 million. TripAdvisor has repeatedly awarded the center a Certificate of Excellence.

Visitors can enjoy meeting the stingrays, critical animals that rely on a healthy Tampa Bay ecosystem – and even touch them gently as they glide past in the touch-tank. You also can hike the nature trail and take in the vistas from the 50-foot observation tower.

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 closes at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.) Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended. Please note that no pets are allowed at the center, only trained service animals.

Visit the center online at or call 813-228-4289 for more information.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 765,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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