Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center opens Sunday for the season
TAMPA, October 29, 2015
Tampa Electric’s award-winning Manatee Viewing Center opens Sunday for its 30th season.
This season, the center boasts several improvements, including an expanded boardwalk, new benches and planned upgrades to the overflow parking lot. These complement the existing 1.4-mile trail that loops to a 50-foot-high observation tower with spectacular views of Tampa Bay. As always, admission and parking at the Apollo Beach facility are free.
“We’re proud to be the showcase for Tampa Electric’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for Tampa Electric. “The 4 million visitors we have welcomed since 1986 prove 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 2015 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 www.tampaelectric.com/manatee or call 813-228-4289 for more information.
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 715,000 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: Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas System and New Mexico Gas Co.