Photo from fws.gov
Did you know that an adult West Indian manatee can consume over 100 pounds of vegetation per day? Adult manatees average 10 feet in length and weigh between 800 to 1,200 pounds. They spend most of their time underwater, but return to the surface to breathe.
Manatees have little tolerance for cold water because of their low metabolism and lack of insulating body fat. Many of our winter guests have enjoyed a delightful day trip up to Manatee Park, about a 50-minute drive from Ocean’s Reach, where they can observe these gentle creatures in a non-captive, natural environment.
Optimal viewing months are January through March, when Gulf of Mexico waters are cooler and manatees can find warm waters at the park, as it is situated close to our local Florida Power and Light plant.
Manatee Park features three observation areas with seating and telescopes, along with picnic shelters, native plant and butterfly gardens, nature paths, fishing pier, playground, gift shop, and kayak/canoe rentals.
For a more adventurous day trip, look into going swimming with manatees up near the Crystal River area!