Mandy Bryant Schuchhardt has been here
Manatee Viewing Center Apollo Beach, Tampa, Florida
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The Manatee Viewing Center is a Fun, FREE Family Attraction!Flag review
I have visited the TECO Energy Manatee Viewing Center numerous times. Open from November through mid-April, this attraction is free fun for the whole family. The best time to visit the center is on a cold day. The manatees flock to the warm waters of the discharge canal from TECO's Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. This attraction features a handicap-accessible raised boardwalk area where visitors may view the manatees from a variety of angles. There is a picnic area below the boardwalk with ample seating for small and large groups. This area also features a butterfly garden, hurricane simulator (extra charge), mold-a-matic machines, and a coin press. The viewing center has an education center where you can learn all about the manatees and their habitat! There is a video game where you can race manatees, manatee puzzles, a manatee skeleton replica, a place where you can smell a manatee's breath, and more! Also on the level of the education center is a nice gift shop and snack bar. Restrooms are also available. There is also a tidal walk area where visitors can view manatees, fish, fiddler crabs, horseshoe crabs, and even the occasional shark! I have visited the Viewing Center with my children, ages 3 and 9 months. I have also been there with members of my moms' group, with children from 0 to 14 years, as well as family and friends with children of all ages. We always have a fun time, and it doesn't hurt that it is educational too!
Tips for Families
- There is a shaded picnic area, so you can bring lunch or enjoy something from their snack bar. - The Manatee Viewing Center has a gift shop full of unique manatee-themed gifts for adults and kids, from home decor items, to souvenirs, to hair bows! - This attraction has two Mold-a-matic machines, a dolphin and a manatee, for $2 each. The machine only takes one dollar bills. - Bring your camera! - This attraction is free. - The Viewing Center is open from November through mid-April. - There are usually more manatees present on colder days. - Parking is free. - Shoes are required.
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