All proceeds go toward our cause when you dive in for cool manatee gear.

Show Your Love on Manatee Appreciation Day

Every year on the last Wednesday of March, it’s Manatee Appreciation Day, dedicated to learning about, treasuring and helping our favorite gentle giants. Whether you visit our Manatee Viewing Center, purchase items from the virtual gift shop or even participate in TECO’s inaugural Run for Manatees 5K, there are plenty of ways you can show your love for manatees.

“Celebri-tees” at the Manatee Viewing Center (MVC)

Besides being a great place to view manatees, our MVC is also where many rescued and rehabilitated manatees are released back into the wild.

In fact, since the center reopened in November 2021, 13 manatees have been carefully returned to the warm waters there. Truffleshuffle was one of seven manatees released at the MVC on Feb. 15, 2021 – a record day!

The 580-pound male manatee was rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as an orphaned calf in Largo in November 2018. He weighed just 205 pounds at the time of his rescue and was sent to SeaWorld for care. He is currently being monitored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute via GPS tag and is doing great.

Learn more about some of our manatee “celebri-tees."

Opportunities for our Fan-atees to Help Our Manatees

Although the spring temperatures are already rising, there’s still time to visit the MVC at 6990 Dickman Rd., Apollo Beach, FL 33572. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until April 15. Parking and admission are both free.

You can also support our manatee rescue and research efforts by purchasing fun manatee swag from the MVC gift store in person or online. As always, your purchases help us help the manatees.

Don’t forget, Saturday, April 9 is our 5K run at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center (FCTC) in Apollo Beach. This run will benefit manatees by supporting seagrass restoration initiatives at Tampa Bay Watch. If you didn’t know, seagrass is a manatee’s favorite dish.

As for those fan-atees who are more comfortable celebrating manatees from afar, Save the Manatees Club will feature fun facts, quizzes and videos on Wednesday, March 30. Visit savethemanatee.org/MAD to find out how you can participate.

Help Protect Manatees

One of the easiest ways to show support of manatees is to help remind others of basic behaviors to prevent manatees from needing rescue.

When boating:

  • Follow slow and no wake zone signs.
  • Stay out of seagrass beds.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to make it easier to see manatees.
  • Correctly dispose of monofilament line and trash as manatees are curious and can get entangled.

When near manatees:

  • Look, but don't touch manatees.
  • Don't feed manatees or give them water.
  • Do not pursue or chase a manatee if you see one while you are swimming, snorkeling, diving, paddling or operating a boat.
  • Never poke, prod or stab a manatee with your hands, feet or any object.

Learn more dos and don’ts when interacting with manatees.

Of course, knowing who to reach out to for help is extremely important. If you see an injured manatee, call the FWC hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).