Manatee Viewing at Apollo Beach!

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I have a confession to make.  Until recently, I was not aware of the existence of manatees.

Yes.  I know.

Our time here in Florida is getting short.  So  I wanted to take the time before we leave to witness this beautiful and shy creature that I had heard a whole lot about.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

And where do you go to see lots of manatees in one place?  Well, it just happens to be a power plant!

The Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach has won many awards over the years for helping the environment, while creating a clean source of electric power.  The power station takes salt water from Tampa Bay, uses it to cool Unit 4, and then puts it back into the canal.  The water is not only clean, but most importantly- warm.

manatees at apollo beach florida

This clean warm water attracts large numbers of Manatees.  They love  the fact that in the winter, when Tampa Bay gets a bit chilly, there is a nice toasty place to hang out!

The Manatee Viewing Center soon came to be.  It is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary.  And best of all- it is a free attraction!

manatees at apollo beach florida

So what the heck is a Manatee?

They are large aquatic mammal with flippers- looking somewhat like a sea lion.  Although, I did read that their closest relative is actually an elephant! The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs around 1,000 pounds.

They are gentle and slow moving, spending most of their time eating, resting and traveling.

Hmmm….come to think of it, that sounds a whole lot like us!

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

Our friends Rick and Judy came along with us.  This will probably be our last outing together for a while.  Rick and Judy are also work campers.  They are headed to Montana to work there for the summer.

The great thing about work camping is that you meet some great people.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

Of course I had to pose with my new friend the manatee!

He’d never heard of me either…

And yes, there were manatees!

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida

The refuge had lots of great walking trails, mangrove swamps, a gift shop and even a small cafe.

manatee viewing center apollo beach florida3It also included a great little museum where we learned tons about the manatees and the environment that they live in.

If you ever get to this part of Florida, we highly recommend this fun and educational attraction!

madeira beach

And speaking of Florida, we will be heading out of here next week.  We really did enjoy our stay here!

There is a reason our home is on wheels, though.  We are in this to travel!  We will be headed to Atlanta for a few doctor appointments, to visit some family, and then onto Arizona!

Stay tuned!