On our second adventure of 2022 we took the hour drive north to Crystal River. We tried to pick adventures that would take us out of our comfort zone, and this experience definitely did that. Let me just say that I have always wanted to swim with manatees. And the Plantation on Crystal River is one of the few locations where you can experience this legally. We did a little exploring of the town, and checked out some of the great amenities the resort had to offer when we got there.
We woke up the next morning and headed over to the Adventure center to watch a safety video to make sure we were prepared and understood the rules. After that we all got into our wetsuits, which we were thankful for because it was 55 degrees that morning.
Everyone was very excited on the boat ride over, but once we got there the girls did not want to get in the water. The water was cold and murky and even though the manatees are gentle, they are big and can be intimidating. Eventually everyone got in, even if the girls had to get on our backs at times. I was so proud of them for stepping out of their comfort zone!!
The key to swimming with the manatees that we learned from our safety video was, passive observation. You just snorkel and watch them. But then what happens is the more still and quiet and still you are, the more they approach you.
A few tips I picked up while doing this. Although there is no minimum age for this, I would recommend that your kids are comfortable swimming and wearing a snorkel. The wetsuit is required and the smallest size they come in is a size 6, so if you need one smaller you may
Find more details about our trip to Crystal River here…