07 Dec Crystal River “Home of the Manatee”
Have you met a Manatee yet? If not, now is the time! Due to their large size, average about 9 to 10 feet long and 1,000 lbs, they may be intimidating to some at first. However, as you will soon discover, there is nothing scary about these fascinating animals. These endangered West Indian Manatees are nothing but gentle giants.
They are slow movers. Most of their time is spent eating vegetation, resting and traveling. The waters of Crystal River and Homosassa house an abundant number of manatees. The waters of the Crystal River and Homosassa are on the average of 72 degrees year round due to the surrounding springs. The warm water is what attracts the manatees to these areas. During the winter months it is crucial for these manatees to stay in waters that maintain a temperature higher than 68 degrees for their survival. Certain areas of Kings Bay are designated Manatee Sanctuary areas. These sanctuaries provide places for manatees to rest and feed undisturbed in the warmth of the springs. It is not uncommon to see as many as 400 manatees in a single day during the winter months!
Where to Meet a Manatee
Crystal River and Homosassa provide you access for the opportunity to meet these gentle animals up close. You may choice to swim with the manatees. Snorkeling though the springs like “Three Sisters Springs of Kings Bay” is a great way to observe them. There are many local tour companies that will assist you with these excursions. Another great way to see the animals up close without having to get into the water with them is to take a trip over to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They have an underwater observatory, which they call the “fish bowl” for viewing the manatees without getting wet! At different times throughout the day the staff of the wildlife park will put on a manatee show which includes feeding the manatees.
Come visit Crystal River, Florida for your chance to meet a manatee!