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!
There is FREE parking! Make sure you note that the wildlife observation tower and trails shut at 4pm
From home, you can operate the center's east and west Web cameras through their website, take a look!
Take a picnic and enjoy it at one of the picnic spots they have available!
Healthy Eating Make sure you take bottled water with you to stay hydrated.
Take Interstate 75 to Apollo Beach, Exit #246. Turn west on Big Bend Road (C.R. 672). Travel 2.5 miles west to the curve intersection of Big Bend and Dickman roads. The Manatee Viewing Center entrance is on the right.
The Tidal Walk is ADA compliant. Speak to staff about other areas
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10am - 5pm daily.
Nov 1 to April 15. Closed Christmas Eve/Day & Easter
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Manatee Viewing Center