Spring break has been a whole lot of fun again this year. The manatees are loving it and the weather has been fantastic! If you’re visiting Orlando, take a short drive to Crystal River, FL …where man and manatee play! Swim with the manatees for a memory of a lifetime! We are only 90 minutes from Orlando FL and Tampa FL.
Crystal River is home to several hundred manatees. Manatees can’t survive for lengthy periods of time in the cold Gulf of Mexico waters when the temperature drops below 68 degrees. During the winter months the manatees take refuge in the warmer waters of Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River. Crystal River is a small city that surrounds the Kings Bay. Kings Bay contains several springs producing millions of gallons of fresh water that keeps parts of the bay at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round. The best place in the United States to view and even swim with manatees is in Crystal River during the winter months. February and March are the best and busiest months of the year for manatee tours. Please call or book online early, to reserve your tour.
Today was a beautiful day with cooler temperatures, more manatees and lots of sunshine. The water has been fairly clear of late and the manatees were generally active today. We are now in the height of the manatee tour season. This is truly the best time of year to take the tour. December through March is what we consider the manatee tour season and we are well into it now.
If you’re vacationing in Florida this winter, be sure to visit Crystal River. We’ll take you back in time… Because that’s what it feels like when you’re quietly swimming with manatees.
So far the tours have been great this year. We found several small groups around the bay today. We shot a little video at one of the spots.
Only 90 minutes from Orlando is a place called Crystal River. This little town was once a thriving fishing village, many years ago. Now it is known as the “Home of the Florida Manatee”. It’s that time of year when the Gulf of Mexico waters become to cold for manatees to survive. This leads to large numbers of manatees migrating into the river, bay and the fresh water springs of Crystal River.
Manatee tours in Florida are in full swing. Crystal River is a busy little town during the winter. People come from all of the world to swim with manatees. Many of them are vacationing in Orlando and set aside a day with the manatees, while they are here. Even though Crystal River is an easy drive from Orlando, many will spend the night in Crystal River, so they can take their time and be ready for their early morning tour.
Manatees are protected by State and Federal laws. It is illegal to harass a manatee in any way. Manatees have been on the endangered species list for many years, since the list was established in 1967. However, the US Fish & Wildlife agency dropped manatees from the endangered list and reclassified them as threatened species, just last year.
The total population of manatees has increased to between 7,000 and 10,000 manatees, the last two years of data has shown. Sadly though, the number of manatee deaths has risen as well. The manatees greatest enemies are speeding boaters and Red Tide. This year’s Red Tide was unusually brutal and so was it’s affect on the manatees. But overall, the net increase in manatees is a positive sign and hopefully this will continue for years to come.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Orlando, take a short drive to Crystal River and swim with manatees in the wild. It’s an amazing experience. One that you’ll never forget!