Manatee Viewing Center open in Apollo Beach - WFLA News Channel 8

Manatee Viewing Center open in Apollo Beach

Posted: Updated:
APOLLO BEACH, FL (WFLA) - Bob Rast calls manatees his "passion." He can spout off facts about the marine mammal for minutes. Rast has volunteered at the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach for 14 years. The MVC just opened for the season Nov. 1.

"It's kind of cloudy today," Rast said. "When the weather is good you'll see so many manatees they look like stepping stones in the water."

Thursday wasn't a good day for sea cow spotting. According to Rast, the best time to see manatees is when the temperature drops. The mammals swim from the cooler waters to the warm water by the electric plant.

Riverview resident Mike Morandi showed up to take pictures. He didn't have much luck.

"The water looks dark to me," Morandi said. "They're out there and they're trying to come in. It's tough to see but they're out there."

Last year the viewing center got a makeover. The parking lot, which used to be leftover shells, is now paved. New solar panels now produce enough electricity to power the entire educational facility at the center. There's also a new landscaping exhibit. Rast says there's still only one star of the show.

"Manatees are such a gentle giant," Rast said. "Some people say they're so ugly they're beautiful."

The center is open Nov. 1 until April 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Back-to-School Tax-free Holiday is here

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-08-01 12:52:56 GMT
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
    It's almost time to head back to school and that means it's time to shop.
  • Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:10:55 GMT
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
  • Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:45:52 GMT
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pinellas school district asks Crist to pull TV ad

    Pinellas school district asks Crist to pull TV ad

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:32 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:32:42 GMT
    The Pinellas County school district is asking former Gov. Charlie Crist to pull a television ad filmed at an area high school.
    The Pinellas County school district is asking former Gov. Charlie Crist to pull a television ad filmed at an area high school.
  • Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:16 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:16:16 GMT
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
  • New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:43:41 GMT
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.