Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manatee Viewing Center

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day. We went over to the condo to help mom and dad load their car for home. They were on the third floor and I can feel it in my calves from running up and down the stair so much. It rained the whole time were were packing the car, but cleared when we were in the restaurant for lunch. (I think there's some sort of law for that) ha! They will be staying with my aunt and uncle in Bradenton for a fews days before going back to Michigan. Well everyone has left so now I can get back to my blogs. I thought I would show you another place we saw for their visit.
Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center. The weather has been unusually cold this winter in Florida, well not just Florida many parts of the country has experienced more than there fair share of cold and snow! We will get cold days during the winter but it normally doesn't last more than a couple of days then we warm back up, often above average temps. Not this year, we've been staying below average for sometime now (we're thinking about moving further south).
TECO (Tampa Electric) has a power plant that puts out warm water into an outlet. The area where this happens attract all sorts of sea life when it is cold out. When the water temperature gets below 68° the Manatees join in for the warmer water.
The Manatee Viewing Center is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 1 through April 15. (The center is closed Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.) Admission and parking is free, but you can make a donation.
You can watch the manatees come in and out of the bay. In this photo you can see where the warm water comes out. All those dots or bumps in the water are manatees.

It was crowded that day with both manatees and humans. You can also see rays, sharks, and a lot of fish. They have signs with pictures to help identify what you might see.

Here is a little closer, the manatees can stay under for around 20 minutes before needing to take another breath. They move slow and often will get hit by boats because they can't get out of the way quick enough. There were several baby manatees too. We could see the nostrils, and tails when they were moving.
Teco has set up several boardwalks and viewing platforms, so it can accommodate a lot of people.
They also have gardens, a small museum, a cafe, and a hurricane simulator.
It was a nicer day out than it looks. The clouds came in while we were there.

Behind one platform looking out to the bay. There is a boardwalk that goes out right across where the warm water comes out. They label all of the plant life too.

This is a Spotted Eagle Ray. The small ones are close to the shore so I could get a good picture of them.
There were larger ones that were jumping everywhere. We often could see the tips of their wings above the water. We even saw a shark jump out of the water twisting in the air before going under again. TECO has some cameras on their website that will show live underwater viewing.
The first three photos, my niece Kendra took. My camera's battery died, you think I would of checked that. Thanks Kendra!


  1. Oh so cool. You have such informative blogs. I love it because I don't get to see those kinds of things where I live. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  2. Thank you Kristen, I'm happy that I'm not boring everyone! We are pretty lucky all that we have to see here and a lot of touists come here to visit.

  3. I didn't know we had a place like this nearby! I love Manatees and that picture you got of the sting ray was so cool too!

  4. Mel, you should really go. It is so cool to see all the Manatees in the wild like that. It's worth the drive. I think your girls would love it!


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