17.1 miles, 1-3 hours
The Manatee Viewing Center gets its name from the fact that visitors get to view manatees that gather in the clean, warm water discharge canal between the Big Bend Power Station and the center when the temperature of Tampa Bay falls below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the manatee observation platforms, the center features a tidal walkway that takes visitors deep into a mangrove habitat. Hundreds of varieties of birds, fish and other animals thrive here amid native coastal vegetation. The center also features an environmental education building, an expanded gift shop, the South Shore Café, webcams during the center’s open season and more.
Special note: This is The Manatee Viewing Centers 25th Anniversary, since 1986 millions of visitors have visited this unique environmental center. The Manatee Viewing Center is open to the public daily starting November 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through April 15. (The center is closed Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.) From home, you can operate the center's east and west Web cameras. Make your reservations here for your class or group to visit the Manatee Viewing Center. For more information, call (813) 228-4289.
Bring Water for the trip to the viewing ctr., of course a Camera, and wear Comfortable shoes and clothes.