In 1986, Tampa
Electric built a manatee observation platform at Big Bend Station and
officially welcomed the first manatee watchers to its warm water discharge
viewing area. Since then, the Manatee Viewing Center has hosted more than
one million visitors who have come to see these endangered marine mammals.
The center features an Environmental Education
Building where you'll get a chance to learn about the manatee's biological
characteristics and habitat.
The center is open to the public from November
1 through April 30. The center is handicapped accessible, with vending
machines, picnic shelter and gift shop.
A self-guided natural trail is also open, ideal
for viewing the tidal flatlands.
Mangroves, one of Florida's native trees, are a
common and very important part of Florida's estuarine ecology and economy.