Prices : Visitors will have to pay a fee depending on the package they take
Timings : 7 days a week, year-round
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Visitors across North America can only swim legally with the manatees in one place, and that's in the Crystal River area that is located around 90 minutes North of Tampa, which is located in Florida on its west coast. The clear waters of Crystal River are also called the Kings Bay, and in this area, the water temperature is a consistent 72 degrees throughout the year. Visitors get to see a large number of Manatees during the months of winter where more than 300 Manatees migrate there to get away from the cold waters that come from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as most of them the year some of the Manatees stay in the bay area through the summer period. These manatees that migrate and the ones that have made a home at Crystal River make it the perfect spot for visitors to get up close and personal with these friendly giants.
The types of Manatees that are found are the west Indian manatees that are very large aquatic mammals, they weigh around 1,000 pounds and are about 10 feet in length. They are friendly, they are slow-moving mammals that eat 10-15 percent of their body weight in aquatic plants on a daily basis. They are mammals that surface for air every 30 seconds while they move about and every 20 minutes while they sleep. The Manatees have no natural enemies and the largest threats to their survival are their interactions with various watercraft and loss of habitat. The Manatees were placed on the endangered species list in the late 1960s and have been under close protection in order to ensure the survival of the species.
Crystal River in Florida is where visitors are legally permitted to swim with manatees in their natural environment. Visitors can go on a swim tour in the river, but only once they have been briefed on all of the do’s and don’ts while interacting with the Manatees. Although manatees are very curious mammals by nature and generally start the interaction with humans, they are protected by the law. Learning how to communicate with manatees and their encounter rules and tips make sure that visitors have the best, and a rewarding experience while they are a guest in the manatees home.
Visitors get to enjoy the unique chance that is exclusive to Citrus County Florida by getting the chance to swim with the manatees in Kings Bay Wildlife Refuge. Crystal River is home to the world’s biggest population of endangered manatees during the winter season, and also has a small amount of them during the warm months.
Visitors can start their journey with a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain who will be there as a water chaperon, educator, and photographer. A standard tour will run three hours from start to finish and everything they will need is included at a single price. Visitors will begin the day at the full-service tour facility, where visitors will be educated about the Manatees in a classroom setting and they will receive tips for the tour as that will make the most of the day. Visitors will be taught the do’s and Don'ts of ‘passive interaction’ to make sure that the animals enjoy the experience as well.
Visitors will then be geared up and sent to the dock, where a Coast Guard certified enclosed pontoon will be waiting for tourists. This rich habitat will fascinate visitors due to the sheer number of birds, fish, and wildlife that is available there.
Crystal River gives the best chance to see and play with the manatees that are found in Florida, it is a subspecies of the West Indian manatees, which are known as the gentle giants. Despite the laws that are in place around North America, the Government there lets for a form of passive interaction in the water for the manatees and people at Kings Bay. This lets one on one interaction with manatees. They provide pre-tour education on what to do so that they can get the best experience out of the tour, and at Crystal River, they offer a hotel package that includes accommodations and breakfast along with their Florida manatee tour.
At Crystal River, it is a guarantee that once visitors meet the friendly Manatees they would never feel the same!
Visitors get a one-of-a-kind chance to interact with these curious and gentle creatures in their natural environment, it is an adventure that one's family will never forget!
The entire observation is 3 hours long from start to finish. The instructor will provide you with masks, snorkels, and wetsuits. The boats will have bottled water included onboard. Visitors can also opt for a photo package which is available at the end of their tour. The pontoon boats can carry up to 16 people.
Disability- Friendly : Yes
$ 66 onwards
$ 63 onwards
$ 45 onwards