Guide to the Manatee Viewing Center…. Now is the time to Visit~

Since October of this year my (biking) Guide to the Mantee Viewing Center has been downloaded 31 times.  I by no means am referring to the fact that it is note worthy enough to have received such attention, but surprised that it was read at all.

Manatee Viewing Center

Manatee Viewing Center Ride – Teco

Manatee Viewing Center
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 17.1 miles / 27.5 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview: The Manatee Viewing Center gets its name from the fact that visitors get to view manatees that gather in the clean, warm water discharge canal between the Big Bend Power Station and the center when the temperature of Tampa Bay falls below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the manatee observation platforms, the center features a tidal walkway that takes visitors deep into a mangrove habitat. Hundreds of varieties of birds, fish and other animals thrive here amid native coastal vegetation. The center also features an environmental education building, an expanded gift shop, the South Shore Café, webcams during the center’s open season and more.

Tips: Bring Water for the trip to the viewing ctr., of course a Camera, and wear Comfortable shoes and clothes.

Points of Interest

New Bike Lane

The MPO passed a Restriping Resolution stating that when a road with ample width is resurfaced, the designer will look at reducing the motor vehicles lanes to allow a bicycle lane to be striped. Following that resolution, an engineering study was funded to identify appropriate roadway widths that could accommodate cars and bicycles and still meet engineering standards.

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Panther Trace Subdivision

Panther Trace is a 785-acre master-planned community, with distinctively designed villages. Great care has been taken to preserve the community’s scenic wetlands and nature areas.

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Fruit Stand, Symmes Rd and Hwy 301

Produce found at The Farmers Market is renowned for being locally grown and very fresh. People argue The Farmers market allow farmers to pick produce at the peak of flavor, preserve the nutritional content of fresh produce, and since locally grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.

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Tamiami Trail

Back in 1923, when completion of the 275-mile Tamiami Trail from Tampa to Miami was stalled, 23 men calling themselves the Tamiami Trailblazers and two Seminole guides decided to cross the Everglades in cars.

To demonstrate that the final section could be built through the treacherous swamp between Fort Myers and Miami, they set out in their Fords on April 4, a Wednesday, intending to reach Miami four days later.

Their cars got stuck in the marsh, forcing them to board a Caterpillar tractor, build 17 bridges by hand, cut through eight miles of dense cypress forest, and get food and gas dropped in by bomber aircraft. The supposed five-day journey of 190 miles took 23 days.

But the Trailblazers got everyone’s attention: After much drilling, blasting and dredging, the highway was completed in 1928.

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Mosaic is one of the world’s leading producers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients.

Their world-class mining and processing operations produce more than 10 percent of the world’s potash and phosphate supplies. They move these products through the value chain to wholesalers and retailers through their extensive global distribution system. They have key distribution facilities in eight countries, serving wholesalers, retail dealers and individual growers in approximately 40 countries. Mosaic also offers value-added services, such as tools to assist in application rates of crop nutrients and other customized services that increase both crop and economic yields. They have a rich legacy of experience and innovation, producing a line of premium products that offers greater nutrient delivery with lower application rates.

Phosphate Fact Sheet
Mosaic is the world’s largest producer of finished phosphate products, with an annual capacity of 9.7 million tonnes. Their principal phosphate production facilities are located in Florida and Louisiana. They operate four mines and three concentrates plants in Florida that produce phosphate fertilizer and animal feed products, as well as a concentrates plant in Louisiana that produces phosphate fertilizer.

WHY CROPS NEED PHOSPHATE Phosphate, or phosphorus, is known as “the energizer” in crop nutrients, playing a key role in photosynthesis and providing the following benefits to growing plants:
Improves root growth
Advances maturity; lowers grain moisture at harvest
Leads to higher crop quality
Increases water use efficiency
Increases yields
Potash Fact Sheet
Mosaic’s potash production capabilities are the third largest in the world, with an annual peaking capacity of 10.3 million tonnes. Their principal Potash operations are located in Canada and the United States. They operate three mines in Saskatchewan, Canada, including the world’s largest potash mine in Esterhazy, as well as mines in New Mexico and Michigan.

WHY CROPS NEED POTASH Potash, or potassium, is known as “the regulator” of crop nutrients and provides the following benefits to growing plants:
Leads to the formation of a larger and deeper root system
Reduces water loss and wilting
Regulates nitrogen uptake
Increases protein content in some crops
Reduces lodging caused by weak stalks

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Teco Power Plant

Big Bend Power Station has four coal-fired units with a combined output of more than 1,700 megawatts. The first unit began service in 1970; the second and third generating units were added in 1973 and 1976, respectively; and Unit Four was added in 1985. A natural gas- and fuel oil-fired peaking unit was installed in 2009 to provide additional power during periods of peak demand.

Big Bend Power Station meets strict environmental regulations through the use of flue gas desulfurization systems or “scrubbers,” which remove sulfur dioxide produced when coal is burned.

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Manatee Viewing Ctr.

The Manatee Viewing Center is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 1 through April 15. (The center is closed Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.) From home, you can operate the cente’s east and west Web cameras. For more information, call (813) 228-4289. The Manatee Viewing Center’s mission is to educate the public about the Florida manatee and its habitat. The center is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary. During the center’s open season, Nov. 1 through April 15, displays, interactive exhibits and more teach visitors of all ages about the life cycle of the manatee and the challenges it faces. Center volunteers and staff, many of them TECO Energy retirees, answer questions and provide additional educational information.


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Apollo Beach

According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km²), of which, 5.7 square miles (14.7 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (3.56%) is water.

Apollo Beach is named for the mythical Greek God who brought light and warmth to the world each day. Locals say that the name was given by Dorothy Corr, the wife of the community’s developer and founder Francis J. Corr, in the 1960s when the US space program was taking off in Florida.

Apollo Beach boasts a beautiful waterfront community. It is a year-round haven for boating and fishing enthusiasts, with its many miles of canals and inlets.

Perhaps the fifty-five miles of navigable canals are the best known characteristic of Apollo Beach. The canals average a depth of seven feet in the center and all are connected, eventually merging into Tampa Bay. The canals themselves are lined with magnificent homes, with lush tropical foliage. The majority of homesites have docking facilities with sail boats and motor boats lining both sides of each canal.

The history of Apollo Beach started in 1923 on land used annually for farming and grazing pasture. Much of the land was estuarial in nature and mangrove swamps. It was all low and considered uninhabitable.

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Tamiami Trail

The Tamiami Trail is the beauty and the beast of Florida roads, a highway-time machine that passes through a paradise of primeval forests and toothy animals as well as canyons of strip-shopping malls and heart-stopping traffic. The Trail, which is the last 275 miles of highway US 41, connects Tampa with Miami.


Orchid Green Houses (open to public)

They sell Orchids and Orchid supplies and one of the largest Orchid greenhouses in the area. Its worth a stop just to wander through the greenhouses to see all the beautiful orchids in bloom.

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Cuban Restaurant… best in the state!

Quaint, clean Cuban restaurant with amazing Cuban sandwiches.

It’s located in a small strip center but the food is awesome. The Cuban sandwich comes with plantain chips and a phenomenal cilantro dipping sauce.

Great food, can’t beat their lunch specials. The Cuban sandwich is one of the best in Tampa. A Hidden GEM!

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