I have had an interest in manatees ever since I was a young kid.
Every two years my family and I would take a trip to Florida. My
favorite place to visit was Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. We would take
a boat tour and look at the manatees in the river, you also were able to
view the manatees being fed lettuce, from an observation deck.
There is also underground observation
facility so you can view the manatees underwater.
This is me at the park entrance
The boat tour
My brother and I on the boat
My father observing a West Indian Manatee
very unique thing I got to experience was actually snorkeling with
manatees in the Crystal River, FL. This was actually allowed even though
manatees were endangered. This is one of my favorite experiences.
The Crystal River had a few different places that provided these tour
opportunities. We were given wetsuits, snorkeling gear, and were
taken to specific locations on a boat with a guide. We were given
specific instructions on what was allowed and what was not. We
were allowed to touch the manatees and play with them as long as they
were not in their sanctuaries. These sanctuaries were roped off
areas with buoys that we were not allowed to cross. These areas are the manatees "safe zones."
There are seven manatee sanctuaries and
associated springs in Crystal River. They are the only sites designated
on the federal level under special manatee protection provisions of the
Endangered Species Act. These sites are a national and
international attractions for diving, snorkeling, fishing and other
This is a picture of my family looking in
on a manatee sanctuary, the buoys roped off the area that we could
manatee sanctuary in Crystal River, Florida.