This action-packed day starts with breakfast and a full overview of what’s in store as you head out to the Crystal River area on the Gulf Coast, 80 miles north-west of Orlando. This is the manatee capital of the world and the only place in America where it is legal to swim with manatees. It is also home to stunning natural springs and lots of wildlife, and you’ll get to meet an essential part of it as you gear up for the manatee snorkel under the supervision of a Coast Guard Certified Captain.
You will learn all about the West Indian manatee – and then get to see some of them, up close and personal in the crystal-clear waters! Then head off to 210-acre Homosassa Springs State Park, a hidden gem of Florida nature, where there is local wildlife to learn about, like the endangered Florida panther, black bears, red wolves, bobcats, and alligators, as well as birdlife, notably whooping cranes and flamingos. Spot unique sighting of Nature’s Fish Bowl, an underwater observatory built over the mouth of the mainspring where a huge number of fish hang out, while the Park has its own manatee rehabilitation program to provide another glimpse of these rare sea mammals. The day will conclude with an airboat ride on the Withlacoochee River, another natural haven where you can see more wildlife in its natural habitat and enjoy the thrill of skimming the water on a flat-bottomed craft.