In the Gulf, Florida manatees can be found west through coastal Louisiana and are occasionally sighted as far west as Texas. Prior to winter’s coldest months, manatees migrate to warm water habitats in Florida. These warm-water sites include artesian springs and power plant discharge canals. Florida is at the northern end of the manatee’s winter range and these warm-water habitats play an important role in their survival during the winter months. The Manatee Springs State Park provides shelter and the option to observe these giant mammals. Not like in a zoo, but living their best life, as it should be.
Manatee Springs State Park proves boardwalks aren’t only for the beach.
There might be the odd snorkling human in the pristine waters of the spring, but other than that, the birds, fish and manatees rule!
If you play your cards right, Bowfin will swim right up and greet you. They seem to lose interest easily, but for a few seconds- you’re just another relict.
The autumny glades at Manatee Springs.
Looking forward to see an alligator jumping out of the leafy brew any moment, but they’re invisible today.
The park’s 800-foot boardwalk runs through a majestic cypress forest overlooking one of Florida’s breathtaking first-magnitude springs, which release an astounding 100 million gallons of water daily.
Sunning turtles on a log.
Mr Bowfin followed us!
Florida is truly a place where land and water interweaves to form a diverse and dynamic natural fabric. Numerous rivers course through the landscape, and lakes of varying sizes can be found in all regions.
Gazing into the watery dephts.
End of the boardwalk, the tour boat landing. It’s also the place where the manatees are, usually.
And soon enough we see a manatee nose breaching the water surface.
Just an hour and uncountable manatee jokes later it even comes close to the boardwalk!
Says HI and swims past.
Florida manatees are large, aquatic mammals that are native to Florida. Adult manatees are typically 9-10 feet long from snout to tail and weigh around 1,000 pounds; however, they may grow to over 13 feet long and weigh more than 3,500 pounds. Manatees have two fore limb flippers that they use for steering movements and to hold vegetation while eating. A large, round, flattened paddle-shaped tail is used for swimming.
Not such a big area, especially if you’re traveling with baby, but we spent half a day here, such a recommendable experience. I’d add snorkling in the spring or swimming with manatees next time, we’ll see.