Students visit Crystal River and experience one of the highlights of the program – swimming with manatees! Comprised of 20 islands surrounded by spring-fed water, Crystal River is a warm water refuge for over 25% of the nation’s endangered Florida manatee population. Students dive right in and snorkel in the natural spring water as these “gentle giants” swim playfully all around them. Students can interact with, and even touch, these rare, beautiful animals, as well as learn all about their habits, environment, and the conservation efforts made to preserve them.
Did you know:
- 600 million gallons of fresh water flow daily from more than 30 natural springs through the Crystal River, and the water temperature is a constant 72°F.
- Manatees can grow to be 12 feet in length and up to 3,500 lbs.
- Manatees can be found in abundance in the river’s warm water because they can’t survive for long in water that is less than 68°F.
- When snorkeling with the manatees, it is okay to touch them with the open palm of your hand, but only if they approach you first. A manatee at the bottom of the river is either feeding or resting and shouldn’t be disturbed.