“the cows of the sea”
Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach delivered reliable electricity to the community for 16 years before the commercial operation of Big Bend Unit 4 in 1986. That year, people started seeing manatees in large numbers in the power station's discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the bay. When Tampa Bay reached 68 degrees or colder, the mammals would seek out this new refuge. The Manatee Viewing Center was soon born. Today, Big Bend's discharge canal is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals.
This place is only open from November 1 - April 15
This is only open November to April.
Great visit. Son touched the sting rays. The Manatees were very playful. It was a wet rainy day and low 60 weather.
even though it is only open a few months out of the year, it is an amazing place to go visit. the manatees are only there during the colder months ( nov-apirl) because the power plant has warmer waters. there is a wonderful walking trail and a lovely little gift stop and learning center. totally worth checking out
This place is pretty cool. Went there while we were at Indian Shore for the week. We got to see two Manatees. Worth the stop.
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Manatee Viewing Center
- Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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