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Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center opens Saturday for the season

TAMPA, October 30, 2014

Tampa Electric’s award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Saturday for the 2014-2015 season. As always, admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free.

This season, the center boasts several improvements:

  • The new 50-foot-tall wildlife observation tower is complete, offering outstanding views of an expansive estuary. You can also see Big Bend Power Station, the source of clean, warm water that provides a safe haven for manatees.
  • A new boardwalk now extends about a quarter mile, linking the new tower to the south end of the walking trail.
  • The Education Center has a new, fresh look, including an interactive mangrove exhibit plus new displays for the younger set.

“Tampa Electric is proud of our commitment to environmental stewardship, and the Manatee Viewing Center is our most exciting public showcase of that effort,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Water Programs for Tampa Electric. “The more than 4 million 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 center is the winner of the TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence.

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 Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center on Facebook, please visit us at . Or follow us on Twitter at @TECOmvc.

Tampa Electric , one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves more than 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utilities in Florida and New Mexico, including Tampa Electric , Peoples Gas System and New Mexico Gas Co . Other TECO Energy subsidiaries include TECO Coal , which owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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