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News Release

Improved Manatee Viewing Center opens Friday for the season

TAMPA, October 29, 2013

Tampa Electric’s award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Friday for the 2013-2014 season. As always, admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free.

This season, the center will include several improvements:

  • A new upgraded and expanded audio system has been installed throughout the property for better communication with our guests.
  • Construction is expected to begin this year on a 40-foot-tall wildlife observation tower. When complete later this season, a boardwalk will extend about a quarter mile, to link the tower to the south end of the walking trail.
  • A new, 16-foot-wide boardwalk – wide enough for two-way golf cart traffic – will be built to connect the south end of the parking lot with the South Shore Community Events Center. When the new path is complete later this season, the existing 8-foot-wide boardwalk will become pedestrian-only. This will expand transportation opportunities and improve safety for our guests.

“We’re proud to be the showcase for Tampa Electric’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Water Programs for Tampa Electric. “The millions of visitors we have welcomed since 1986 show that you really can have fun while learning about the natural treasures of Florida.”

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 250,000 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 closes at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.) 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.

You can find the Manatee Viewing Center 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 more than 687,000 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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