Tampa Electric Company (TECO)
Teco Manatee Viewing Center
Tampa Electric's (TECO Big Bend Power Station is a manatee magnet, one of Florida's top places to see manatees. The station draws in sea water to cool the plant and sends clean warm water back into Tampa Bay. This is the kind of warm water place manatees seek out to survive once water temperatures drop below 68 degrees.
The Big Bend's discharge canal is both a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary. A manatee viewing center (no fee) offers the public a good look at the manatees clustered in the canal. Parking is also available, without charge.
Google Earth View of the TECO Center
TECO also provides environmental education building with manatee displays, an award-winning butterfly garden and a mile-long coastal habitat trail with a boardwalk leading to a 50-foot high wildlife observation tower. Picnic tables are also available.
Hours: The viewing center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Nov. 1 through April 15 (closed Thanksgiving; closes at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve; closed Christmas Day and Easter).
Location: 6990 Dickman Rd., Apollo Beach, FL 33572