During cold snaps, manatees migrate to huddle up in warm waters. That’s why the winter season in Orlando is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of manatees at Blue Spring State Park.
Manatees retreat to the designated refuge each year because of the consistent water temperature of 72 degrees. On a cold day, you may be able to view up to several hundred from the spring’s overlooks. Manatee season usually lasts through March.
The cost to enter Blue Spring State Park is $6 per vehicle. It’s a great place to take visitors during the winter break or to bring the entire family for a educational experience. Plan to arrive early because the park fills to capacity quickly, especially on the weekends.
The Manatee Festival celebrates this exciting time of the year with a festival to benefit the Friends of Blue Spring State Park on January 26 & 27 at Valentine Park in Orange City, Florida.
It’s an event for the entire family with lots of entertainment and free shuttle rides to Blue Spring State Park to see the manatees. Enjoy presentations by Central Florida Zoo, live music, rides, activities, food and more. Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for kids (3 and under are free).
Another popular spot to meet manatees is Three Sister Springs in Crystal River. The destination is approximately two hours away from Orlando. The Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River is scheduled for January 19 & 20.