What a blast. We wanted to see manatees, searched where one should look for manatees in Tampa, and discovered the TECO Manatee Viewing Center. There are two different areas, a long pier at the end of a walkway through a mangrove swamp, and an array of elevated decks where the viewing is best.
We walked out on the pier first. We thought we'd only be seeing a few waterbirds, the humped backs of manatees quite some distance away, and the gymnastics of some stingrays that were leaping from the water as they fed. Then we climbed to the viewing decks and waited. It wasn't long before some fine fellows drifted by in the murky water.
This is marvelous place although you can't really get here without a car. You certainly can't beat the price: free!