Swimming with Manatees

Florida Guide > Other Activities

I have recently being looking at a Swimming with the Manatees Tour, my niece is longing to do this and as it is her birthday soon I have thought of taking her next time we go to our villa in Orlando.

She loves these gentle giants and I think all the more so because they are an endangered species and she has wanted to swim with them in their natural habitat for some time now.

I have found a tour that takes place Wednesdays and Saturdays and cost about $110 for adults and $90 for children three to eleven years old. The package includes round trip transportation from the Orlando, Kissimmee and Disney Areas. Pick up 6:15am to Drop off 5:30pm although these times may vary. Breakfast and lunch are included in the all-inclusive day trip and there is a professional guide driver.

Reservations are required and you are asked to call as far in advance as possible to ensure booking for your preferred date as apparently these tours are very popular. When you book you arrange your pick up time and place. An email is sent to you with a voucher for you to print and take with you to the tour.

The package begins with a boat ride on the lovely Crystal River in Citrus County, we have been here before. Here you can choose to snorkel and swim in the crystal clear water, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the natural surroundings on the boat tour, of course she will want to swim! Apparently plant eating Manatees are friendly to human snorkelers or divers and they will often come to greet them or even roll over to be tickled. Underwater cameras are highly recommended so I will need to investigate these. A mask, snorkel, and fins are included for snorkeling; a wetsuit is available for an extra fee.

Manatees inhabit warm, shallow, coastal waters and cannot survive in temperatures below 60°F. Their natural source for warm waters during the winter is warm-spring fed rivers. The West Indian Manatees migrate into Florida rivers that maintain a water temperature of 72°F year round.

After lunch the tour will visit the Homosassa State Park which I have heard from friends is supposed to be one of Florida’s best state parks. Here we will be able to see many of Florida’s endangered animals such as the state panther and also visit an underwater viewing chamber for the manatees.

I am going to go ahead and book this tour as soon as we get our holiday dates as I am sure it will make one little girl very happy.

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