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Manatees in Florida!?
Blue springs is a natural spring in Florida that was supposedly discovered by British botanist John Bartram. He found the water to taste
Blue Springs is home to more than fifteen threatened and endangered animals, including bears, tortoises, and scrub jays. Most notably, it is the winter home to the West Indian manatee who requires warm water. The spring is 72 degrees year-round and in 2018, more than 400 manatees called it home for part of the year.
Between November and March, these majestic and gentle creatures often come to Blue Springs State Park, which has a great boardwalk and overlook that makes it easy to see the manatees without much planning. Be sure to bring your camera!
Tips for visiting Blue Springs
Blue Springs is an easy day trip from Orlando by car. You will need cash to pay for the parking fee ($6). Luckily, this state park is open 365 days a year,
There’s a small commissary where you can get snacks although we generally choose to stop off at the nearby Publix supermarket to buy lunch to bring with us. (They have great subs!)
What is/isn’t allowed
“It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.”Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978
Manatees are a sensitive endangered species. As much as it is amazing to get up close to them, you’re not allowed to touch them in any manner. This is a felony in Florida. One of the best ways to see the manatees is to rent a kayak and paddle along the warm, peaceful waters that they live in. Even if you see a manatee pop-up, it’s best to stay away as they’re naturally curious and you don’t want to alter their natural
If you see a manatee come close, stop and avoid movement. Under no conditions should you pursue a manatee or isolate one from a group. Staying quiet is best as noise can scare manatees. Keep your hands to yourself and do not touch manatees under any circumstance.
If you’re not comfortable kayaking, you can take an ecological boat tour along the St. John’s River. This two-hour boat ride only departs twice a day and it is a great opportunity to see the full ecosystem. In some spots along the Crystal River, it is possible to snorkel near the manatees under the guidance of wildlife professionals. This is not possible at Blue Springs.