APOLLO BEACH - The Manatee Viewing Center opens Tuesday for its 30th year.
The viewing center was opened in 1986 when people started seeing manatees in large numbers in the power station's discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the bay. When Tampa Bay reached 68 degrees or colder, the mammals would seek out this new refuge.
The pavilions and boardwalks have been expanded to allow more people to enjoy the views.
The center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and its free. Go to the Manatee Viewing Center's website for holiday hours and more information.