Manatees, a protected species in Florida, are beautiful animals, and it is humbling to see them up close on these educational tours.
Swimming with manatees is often a dream for many people. Manatees are adorable large creatures. They are fully aquatic mammals that are often referred to as sea cows. Swimming with these beautiful creatures is not as easy as you might think. Manatees in Florida are protected by federal and state laws because they are considered vulnerable. Illegal swimming with manatees could result in a hefty fine or be arrested.
Manatees have fins, two forelimbs, with 3-4 nails on the fin. They have wrinkles on their face and head. There are whiskers on their wrinkled muzzle. Manatees are thought to have evolved from herbivorous animals.
Behaviors of a manatee
Manatees are gentle and slow animals. Most of their time is resting, eating and traveling. Even though manatees are herbivores, they can still digest small fish. They have to surface to breathe because they are mammals. They have to come out to breathe every three to five minutes on average. If the manatees are resting, they won’t have to go out as often. The average swimming time for a manatee is around three to five hours with rapid gusts of twenty miles per hour.
Swim with manatee tours
Since it is illegal to swim with manatees unless you are on a tour, there are many travel agencies to choose from.
Manatee Swimming Center
The Manatee Swim Center is located at 1508 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, which is Kings Bay. They are right next to the Crystal River, which is the perfect spot for manatee viewing. The tour guides who are the captains of the boats offer incredible tours allowing visitors to not only see these beautiful creatures but also give them the opportunity to interact with them. Visitors can snorkel with the manatees with all the equipment provided by the Manatee Swim Center.
Manatee tours are available in several packages depending on the season. There are also private events that are available.
Fun 2 Dive – Swim with the manatees
Fun 2 Dive – Swim with Manatees is located at 135 NE 3rd St, Crystal River, FL 34429. They offer many types of tours, from their daily classic tours to luxury VIP tours. These tours allow visitors to swim with the manatees. Tours are all-inclusive, so visitors pay no additional fees for using the equipment. The manatee tour guide takes a series of photos throughout the tour and the photos are available at the end of the tour for purchase.
Homosassa Manatee Snorkeling Center
Homosassa Manatee Snorkeling Center is located at 10460 W New York St, Homosassa, FL 34448. Snorkeling with Manatees offers visitors the opportunity to be educated while experiencing wildlife sightseeing. . Everything you need is provided by the travel agency. The tour educates participants on the rules of interacting with manatees and how to behave in the water around manatees. Tour visitors can enjoy a nice cold flavored margarita from the Margarita Grill after completing the tour.
Captain Mike’s swim with the manatees
Captain Mike’s Swimming with the Manatees is located at 614 NW US-19 Crystal River, FL 34428. They offer personalized tours for swimming and snorkeling. These tours allow you to get up close and personal with the manatees. Options when customizing a tour are the ability to add breakfast and drinks to some of the tours. It is a travel agency that gives back to local non-profit organizations that help protect manatees.
Crystal River Manatee Tour
Crystal River Manatee Tour is located at 1 SW 1st Pl, Crystal River, FL 34429. They are ready to accommodate groups of more than six by taking a second boat, so the group is together. They provide hot chocolate and bottled water for those on the tour. They offer private tours. They also offer dry tours, which saves visitors the trouble of getting into the water. Visitors enjoy watching the manatees from the boat.
Where to stay
There are so many beautiful places to stay in the Crystal River area where manatees are in abundance to see. Whether guests wish to stay at a hotel or a resort, both are available in the area.
Retreat to Crystal Manatee
The Retreat at Crystal Manatee is located in the center of Crystal River and is a family run hotel. When staying at the hotel in downtown Crystal River, guests are close to many area attractions.
Plantation on the Crystal River
The Plantation on Crystal River is an eco-friendly resort. The hotel is surrounded by Kings Bay, home to manatees that migrate to the springs. The plantation offers boating, golf, fishing and a spa.
The Hotel du Port and the Marina
The Port Hotel and Marina is a complex of water slides. It is located in King’s Bay. The freshwater springs are home to manatees. Staying at the Port Hotel will provide guests with incredible sunsets and access to many water activities. The Port Hotel is on seven acres. The Marina offers sunset dinner cruises.
It is easy to plan a trip to swim with the manatees, and there are hotels and resorts near the places to visit. Why pass up the chance to book a trip right away to swim with these beautiful creatures?
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