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TECO Manatee Viewing Center won't reopen until 2021 due to COVID-19

Posted at 12:36 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2021-06-02 08:12:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center will remain closed until the fall of 2021 due to COVID-19.

It is scheduled to reopen next season on Nov. 1, 2021.

“As with so many of the changes we’ve seen this year, we know keeping the Manatee Viewing Center closed this season is a disappointment,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for Tampa Electric. “Safety is our top priority, and, with that in mind, we’re offering virtual ways to experience the center until we can welcome visitors back in person.”

When the water temperature of Tampa Bay is 68 degrees or colder, manatees gather in the clean, warm water discharge canal of Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station, sometimes by the hundreds. The manatees have gathered in the canal since the early 1970s.

While the center remains closed, manatees will continue to gather in the federal and state-protected sanctuary. Would-be visitors can still experience parts of the Manatee Viewing Center, too:

  • Virtual field trips are now available online: go to and click on “virtual visit.”
  • The center’s live web cameras are operational, so you can see the manatees from the comfort of your home.
  • The center has a new online store, thanks to a partnership with the University of Tampa and MacDonald Training Center