Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach – Free
Has anyone been to the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach! We don’t normally have two ‘over the bridge’ adventures in such close succession, however this one is cool temperature sensitive, so posting it now. For my Wild Roots giveaway winners from @LovingStPete on Facebook and Instagram, simply scroll down.
Big Bend Power Station – Manatee Sanctuary
For those who have been to the Manatee Viewing Center, did you see 100+ manatees? This past weekend, we did! With 6K+ reviews and a 4.7/5 star Google rating, I suspect a few of you have as well! Big Bend Power Station has been around since 1970. Since that time, the surrounding area has become a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary. Here’s why. To help cool certain elements, the plant pulls water in from Tampa Bay. That same water then exits as clean warm water, which the manatee love!
Visit on a cool day to see the most manatees
We picked a cooler day to visit as supposedly that’s when you’ll see more manatees seeking warmth. Well, hundreds of people had the same idea! The regular parking lot was full, so we headed to the ‘overflow lot’. No big deal, as this simply meant a nice nature walk along a winding trail to the main building & viewing area. We passed different sights and sounds along the way, plus a building with activities for the kids to test their knowledge…and even create energy.
Once you’re at the manatee viewing area, boardwalks provide a good look at the huge mammals. Bring polarized glasses if you have them! I wish my phone had a polarized lens to give you a better idea of what we saw through our glasses. I’ll post a couple video ‘stories’ anyhow to give you a general idea.
Manatee Education Center and Gift Shop
We unfortunately had to skip the education center and gift shop, however we’re told that inside you’ll learn all about the manatee’s habitat, walk through a mangrove tunnel, ‘dive into a spring’, view manatee bones, put together puzzles and much more! Including a hurricane simulator. (dang it, you know Colt and I love ‘em…have to go back!)
There’s also a rays touch tank onsite as THIS is the off-season home of the actual mascots of the Tampa Bay Rays! I had no idea!
Dates and Hours Open:
Open Nov 1 – Apr 15 from 10AM-5PM. Nature Trail & Observation Tower close at 4 PM.
The winners of our $50 gift cards to Wild Roots are:
@ravennkramer on Instagram!
and Misty Smith on Facebook!
Congrats! I’ll be in touch within 48 hours.
Google Reviews: 6526 with a 4.7/5 Average
Address: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL
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