“A designated manatee sanctuary”
Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach delivered reliable electricity to the community for 16 years before the commercial operation of Big Bend Unit 4 in 1986. That year, people started seeing manatees in large numbers in the power station's discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the bay. When Tampa Bay reached 68 degrees or colder, the mammals would seek out this new refuge. The Manatee Viewing Center was soon born. Today, Big Bend's discharge canal is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals.
Very cool little stop along our travels and it’s Free!! Nice little walking trail and elevated viewing platforms. The weather was a little warm while there so the manatees stayed to the far side. The water was a bit deep so you can’t see too far down. We did see some very large fish & there was some manatee action on the top of the water.
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Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center
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