If you’ve ever wanted to see non-captive wildlife at it’s finest, head to the best travel destination in Florida for seeing manatees. On the West Coast of Florida around Tampa Bay, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and the surrounding areas, you’ll find Apollo Beach, home to the Manatee Viewing Center.
What are Manatee?
Manatee are often referred to as the friendly giants of the sea or as sea cows. I like to describe them as giant puppies who are incredibly lazy, exceptionally adorable, and even more curious. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them swim along the sea walls in Florida but I couldn’t get enough. So, I took a drive down to Apollo Beach to their power plant where the manatee go during the colder months.
Manatee Viewing Center
The Manatee Viewing Center is a great opportunity for the entire family to get some education and excitement into their day. These animals are not held captive. Instead, they go to the area in swarms to stay warm during the colder seasons. You can see baby manatee, large manatee, fat manatee – you name it.
Throughout the viewing center, there’s a speaker playing that tells you valuable information about not only these great sea cows but also, the marine life of Florida as a whole. You’re outdoors for all of it, wandering through the wooden paths and peering over the edges to see the sea cows and other fish. So, make sure you pick a sunny day!
Here are some awesome facts about manatee and why they’re worth the visit.
- Manatee eat 10% of their body weight per day.
- Manatee spend almost half of their day eating.
- They need water above 60 degrees to stay warm since they have low metabolic rates and minimal fat protection.
- Manatee surface every 3 to 5 minutes, despite being able to hold their breath for 20 minutes, making them easy to see in the wild!
- Manatee are often injured or killed by boats. So, be aware in shallow areas.
- Elephants are the closest living species to manatee.
- Manatee lost their teeth continuously throughout their lives.
- Manatee have no natural predator… Other than humans and their boats.
Protect the world we live in and everything that comes with it by visiting non-captive animals. It’s the only way to enjoy the pure essence of this earth.