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

Phone: 813-228-4289

Follow along with over 15 thousand people who follow my LovingStPete Guide on Social Media. Are you interested in buying or selling a property in the Tampa Bay Area? As a Florida native and St. Pete Real Estate Agent, I would love to earn your business! I love the industry so much I even founded a vacation rental advertising company and ran it for a decade before HomeAway/VRBO acquired it. Simply contact me.