Meet a Manatee at a Distance or Nose-to-Nose
BEGIN YOUR MANATEE EXPERIENCE!
Manatees are large marine mammals that favor the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and cluster in and around Crystal River and Homosassa, especially during the cooler winter months. Our relatively warmer waters, with an average temperature of 72°F from the springs, attract these gentle animals. In the Summer months, as many as 230 have been seen on a single day. During the coldest times, up to 476 can be found herding in the waters of Citrus County.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide critical habitat for the endangered manatees and is now home to more than 25% of the nation’s population.
Snorkeling is an excellent way to observe manatees at close range. These excursions should be made with the assistance of a guide or a tour company which can supply everything you’ll need, including mask, snorkel and wet suit.
Another great way to meet a manatee is to visit the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The park serves as a rehabilitation center and refuge for injured and orphaned endangered West Indian manatees. A unique feature of the park is the famous “fishbowl” where visitors can view the manatees in the spring from an underwater observatory – staying dry the entire time!