Three meters long and weighing in at an average of 3,910 lbs, the manatee truly is the cow of the sea. Gentle by nature and herbivorous in dietary preference, the manatee has few natural predators, but still manages to be one of the most endangered species in coastal Floridian waters. Their enemies take the form of boat propellers (in large part due to their curious nature), toxic and harmful waste, and the occasional shark or alligator. Once you see a manatee, you will be in love for life. Take this opportunity to swim with manatees on a natural adventure excursion brought to you by Florida Dolphin Tours.
The day-long “Swim with the Manatees” excursion departs from Orlando, but not before everyone has enjoyed a hearty all-you-can-eat breakfast (feel free to embrace your inner sea-cow). You’ll then head to the picturesque Crystal River area, in aptly-named Citrus County. The area is well-known as being the heart of Florida’s “Nature Coast” and the “Home of the Manatee”. The spring-fed Kings Bay is home to hundreds of manatees during the winter months as the Gulf of Mexico cools in temperature. Upon reaching your destination in Citrus County, Dolphin Tours will provide you with a snorkel and mask, and you will board a riverboat. With highly-trained and experienced Dive Masters nearby, you will then have the opportunity to actually swim with the manatees in Crystal River.
Once in the water, you will see firsthand just how gentle and curious these creatures actually are. They often nuzzle divers, and are playful and “sweet”. Please remember as you swim with these creatures that they are, in fact, endangered, and as such, it is best to keep a respectful distance. Other practices to employ during your swim are to refrain from poking or probing the manatees, and allowing them to approach you rather than making sudden movements towards them. Never attempt to latch onto a manatee or “ride” the creature as it swims, and never separate an adult manatee from its calf or from the rest of its herd. Divers will be close at hand to help you have a safe and exciting swim.
After your swim, you will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the manatee sanctuary, and then the afternoon will kick off with a higher-speed airboat ride on the Homosassa River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. This river is also fed largely by spring water, and endemic to its waters are bottlenose dolphins, alligators, snapping turtles, manatees, and river otters.
You will end your day with a peaceful trip through Homosassa State Wildlife Park, where injured animals are rehabilitated in a well-established medical facility. You will again interact with manatees, and watch a feeding by the park rangers. Other creatures that call the park home include bears, panthers, alligators, and even a hippo!
This day-long trip is a serene and stimulating experience that showcases the beauty and the fragility of Florida wildlife, and one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems on earth.
Please contact Florida Dolphin Tours at 877-352-4646 to make a reservation for the tour. The reservationist will ask for your Go Select number under the bar code so please have your passes ready You will need to leave your credit card number to hold your place on the tour. The card will not be charged unless you do not show up.
Upon making a reservation, you will receive time of pick up and pick up location most convenient for you. Present your Go Select Pass to your driver.