Swimming with Manatees: A Unique Tourism Experience

No, this is not a picture of me or anyone on my tour swimming with a manatee, but we did go swimming with manatees on Monday, November 22.

The Drive

We went through a company called Florida Adventures, which picked us up at the Orlando Flyer. This was about 10 minutes away from our hotel. We piled into a mini van to head up to Citrus County.

In the van, we watched the Shrek movies in the van, and they provided breakfast on the way up.

Florida Adventures Manatee Tour: Swimming with Manatees

We arrived in Citrus County late that morning, where I rented a wetsuit. (I was the only one in my party to swim, but not the only one on the tour to do so). Once we were changed into our wetsuits, our driver drove us down to the water where we got onto the boat. Then we traversed Crystal River, along with a few other connected rivers.

Jet Lag & Cold Water

It was very nice, but for a couple of things. First, I should mention that I was very jet-lagged. And coming from the West coast, I had a hard time going to sleep at a decent time. On top of that, we needed to be up by 6:30 AM east coast time to be there on time (not to mention that we had needed to be up that early the day before), so I was exhausted by this point.

Second, the water was very cold, and I’m a bit skittish when it comes to snorkeling or swimming anywhere other than in a pool . Lastly, we didn’t really see too many manatees. I had one swim right in front of me while I was hanging onto the ladder at the boat. I wish I had been fully in the water, so I could have viewed it through my goggles, but as it was, I didn’t get a very clear view. Let’s just say I was the first one out of the water and back on the boat.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

After that, we headed back to the dive shop to change out of our wetsuits and start lunch. From there, we headed for the next destination Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which was like a mini zoo. We only had an hour, which ended up not being enough time, but it was very nice. I would have liked some extra time to peruse the gift shop, but that was unfortunately not an option.

Airboat Ride

Finally, we went on an airboat ride, where we would hopefully see alligators. We didn’t.

I don’t know if we picked a bad day to go or what, but we didn’t see much wildlife in the wild.

While I found the trip to be enjoyable, and for those interested in swimming with manatees and going on an airboat ride to see alligators, I would recommend it, I personally, would not do it again.

Looking for more things to do in Central Florida? Check this out.

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