Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center
- Type: Zoos and Aquariums
- Time to Spend: Less than 1 hour
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Tampa is a city made for animal lovers willing to pay the price for cuddly, unique and cute. Science centers, zoos and aquariums that don't charge at least a little something for you to enter are few and far between. Which is why the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center is so special. Vacationers appreciate a little break in their itinerary to see manatee swimming through the Tampa Electric water plant, and they don't have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege.
In fact, you won't have to pay anything at all. A Yelp.com user notes that it its "Ok and free. A good spot to just get off the highway and walk about and take in the sights and propaganda from Tampa Electric on how grand they are." A TripAdvisor user says, "Wow, what a great spot to view manatee. They gather in the warm water of the Tampa Electric plants water discharge canal during the cold winter weather. We visited over a cold weekend and there were too many for me to count." There's also a mangrove exhibit, a butterfly garden and a pretty impressive gift shop on the premises.
As previous vacationers mention, the best time to see the manatee is in the colder weather months; as such, the Apollo Beach center is only open to the public from Nov. 1 to April 15. During that time, you can visit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day but Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Visit the center's website for further details.