Friday, January 24, 2014

Mantee Viewing at Tampa Power

In 1986 when the Tampa Power plant began discharging warm water into a cove in Tampa Bay, they started noticing that when the weather was cold, the manatees began to congregate there. 

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All the black spots you see are manatees
Now as many as 300 manatee have been counted in this area, and it has become a National Manatee Refuge.
 
There are walkways along the bay that allow the public to see the manatees up close.
There is a walkway through the mangroves
that extends out into the bay
where you can see huge fish and all kinds of birds
Snowy Egret
Herons
and pelicans, to name a few.
 
You follow Interpretive signs and recorded information messages throughout the walk.  For instance, manatees must leave the cove and go to the bay to find sea grasses to eat, and consume approximately 10% of their body weight daily.  They are vegetarians, carry their babies for 13 months, the babies are about 3' long at birth and weigh about 60 pounds, and calves remain close to their mothers for about two years.
There are fun things to do, a museum, and large picnic area.  There is no admission charged for any of the park, even for parking.
There is even an electric car charging station (not free, however).