TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, where people can watch manatees gather each year to stay warm, will remain closed until at least next fall as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The viewing center, located at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, has been a Tampa Bay staple for more than 30 years. Each year, herds of the gentle sea creatures are seen gathering at the plant’s warm discharge canal when temperatures drop below 68 degrees.

“As with so many of the changes we’ve seen this year, we know keeping the Manatee Viewing Center closed this season is a disappointment,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for Tampa Electric. “Safety is our top priority, and, with that in mind, we’re offering virtual ways to experience the center until we can welcome visitors back in person.”

It’s expected to reopen on Nov. 1, 2021.

In the meantime, people can watch the manatees from the comfort of their home by visiting tampaelectric.com/manatee.