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News Release

Improved Manatee Viewing Center opens Thursday for the season

TAMPA, October 25, 2012

Tampa Electric’s award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Thursday for the 2012-2013 season with new additions for nature lovers. Admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free.

This year, the center includes several improvements:

  • A walking trail, almost a mile long, is due to open this season. The self-guided loop is a way to immerse yourself in Florida’s natural environment and includes educational signs.
  • Eight new solar “trees” have been installed. In combination with the 52 rooftop solar panels and the eight solar trees installed in previous years, the solar panels now produce enough electricity to power the education building during the manatee-viewing season.
  • In addition to the center’s award-winning butterfly garden, the center will boast a new garden to showcase Florida-friendly and native plants.
  • The parking lot has been paved with environmentally friendly permeable concrete, and a sidewalk has been added for visitors’ improved safety.

“Visitors love learning about the endangered manatees, and they love this unique nature-watching destination,” said Stanley Kroh, manager of land and water programs at Tampa Electric. “These new improvements have made this destination even better.”

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 draws an average of more than 200,000 visitors – including about 10,000 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 or call 813-228-4289 for more information.

The Manatee Viewing Center is now on Facebook, please visit us at . Or follow us on Twitter at @TECOmvc.

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 nearly 676,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia.

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