The Manatee is the most treasured animal in all of Florida and is a must see for anyone visiting or living in our great state. Manatees flock to the coastal waters of Florida during the months of October – March to swim in the warm waters. Having explored the St. Pete/Tampa area for years searching for these mesmerizing sea cows, we guarantee you will see them at one of these locations. The only place we guarantee you will see a manatee is Sea World or the Florida Aquarium. However, if you are like us and prefer to see animals in their natural habitat, these are the places to do it.
3) DUKE ENERGY PLANT and WEEDON ISLAND PRESERVE
The Duke Energy Plant, located on the Weedon Island Preserve, keeps the water warm during the winter months. The best way to see the animals in Weedon Island up close is by kayak. ECOmersion gives guided kayak tours of the preserve and offers great opportunities to see the graceful creatures in a safe way.
2) THREE SISTER’S SPRINGS at CRYSTAL RIVER
Three Sisters Springs has crystal clear water that allows for easy viewing of manatees. Located only an hour north of Tampa and St. Pete, there have been mornings where over 400 manatees were viewed. Make sure to be respectful of these graceful creatures, and provide plenty of space while they graze in the Springs.
1) TECO MANATEE VIEWING CENTER
Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center is a designated manatee sanctuary which offers its visitors a viewing platform, tidal walkway and an environmental education center. Manatees come in swarms every winter and spring to the warm water given off by the electrical plant. The plant ensures the water quality is sufficient to keep the animals healthy and happy.