Manatee Viewing Center Apollo Beach
Where is it at?
Manatee Viewing Center
6998 Dickman Road
Tel: 813 228 4289
Where are we going today?
The Manatee Viewing Center is a unique place for kids to visit, as it's so much more than just a place to view those amazing creatures - the manatee's of course!
The Manatee Viewing Center was born out of the fact that over the years at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, people just kept seeing large numbers of manatees! Now, they have a designated sanctuary that offers that much needed protection for these amazing creatures.
Inside of the Manatee Viewing Center, you'll find an environmental education building that is home to colorful displays that take kids and the family into the world of the manatee and it's habitat.
There are other exhibits that show how the power station actually generates electricity for the community - great for kids to learn about conservation, recycling and being environmentally responsible!
Kids can go that bit further in their education and feel the blast of a hurricane in a simulator, and how the area protects for storms.
The center also has great exhibits where kids can learn about the manatee's themselves. They can inspect actual bones, and try and piece the puzzles together.
On those beautiful days, the family can stroll outside among the award-winning butterfly gardens, and see the solar panels which offer energy into the community! Don't miss the Tidal Walk, where you can see a number of coastal and native plants, and of course animals, that call the habitat home.
Check out the habitat loop trail too, which takes you long an oyster shell path through trees, and to an observation tower. Bring the picnic lunch, and admire Tampa Bay!
Great conservation, wildlife, environmental and nature experiences for the whole family at the Manatee Viewing Center!
How much does it cost?
When can we go?
10am - 5pm daily.
Nov 1 to April 15. Closed Christmas Eve/Day & Easter
Take a picnic and enjoy it at one of the picnic spots they have available! .
Make sure you take bottled water with you to stay hydrated. .
Any Top Tips?
From home, you can operate the center's east and west Web cameras through their website, take a look!.
Doing our bit
They have protected these habitats, so why don't you help them out and pick up any trash that you might have with you. It helps the environment!.
Need a little extra help?
The Tidal Walk is ADA compliant. Speak to staff about other areas.
There is FREE parking! Make sure you note that the wildlife observation tower and trails shut at 4pm.
What people are saying?
by Scott Penner
Creepy that the power plant changes the environment enough to encourage the manatees to stick around. But if you are interested in hanging out with busloads of old ppl watching a bunch of manatees in the warm water, Then this place is for you. It was about 10°c today and we saw dozens if not hundreds of manatees. I also found watching swarms of old ppl trying to figure out how the electrical charging station for electric cars worked, to be particularly interesting.
by Stephanie Thompson
I love this place! Very clean. Very beautiful pathways to view the sea life. Every time I go I see something different, something amazing. Once I saw sting rays flying out of the water for about an hour. Then a week later I went back and saw a large school of Cobia swimming in a circle at the top of the water. There are so many different types of fish. Tarpon, Sheep head, Snook, Mullet, and many other I don't know the names of. And of course the Manatees with their adorable babies. It also offers clean restrooms, an interactive learning...Read More
by Daniel Stark
Was able to visit a couple weeks before they closed for the season. I enjoyed the facilities and was able to see several manatee. Great place to check out, plus it was free!
by Samantha Stewart
Great place to take the kids. It's open only during fall and winter when the manatees gather around here in a bid to stay warm during the colder months. It's free and lots of fun. Great photo ops abound.
by Jennifer Lally Sargeant
We stopped here on the way to visit a friend, after seeing a little sign on the highway off ramp. It was GREAT! FREE, educational, beautiful series of ramps with overlooks to view the manatees and educational signage, as well as a GREAT little environmental science center inside! The staff were super friendly and helpful, the exhibits were awesome (really loved the manatee skeleton inside that kids could touch and re-assemble, etc)! This would be a great stop for any manatee lover, as well as families with kids!
by Stephanie Thompson
I love this place! Very clean. Very beautiful pathways to view the sea life. Every time I go I see something different, something amazing. Once I saw sting rays flying out of the water for about an hour. Then a week later I went back and saw a large school of Cobia swimming in a circle at the top of the water. There are so many different types of fish. Tarpon, Sheep head, Snook, Mullet, and many other I don't know the names of. And of course the Manatees with their adorable babies. It also offers clean restrooms, an interactive learning center for the kids and clean picnic tables. And it's all free. If you like nature this is a real treat.