Crystal River, Florida: A Swim With Manatees

Kings Bay (a spring-fed pool) is a 600 acres of fresh water in Crystal River, Fla. The bay’s most famous residents are the West Indian manatees.

"Located along Central Florida’s "Nature Coast," Crystal River is one of the few places where you can swim with manatees. Come with us as we explore the underwater world of Crystal River.":

Manatees (sea cows) are not seals or sea lions. They are aquatic mammals that can grow to 13 feet and over 3,000 pounds, even though they eat only plants. Scientists have counted 3,300 manatees in Florida.

Manatee Coast at Columbus Zoo From November through March, Crystal River, 70 miles north of Tampa, is the epicenter of manatee-watching. Kings Bay is home to nearly 400-500 manatee during the winter and is one of the few places where people can interact with them in their natural conditions. Each winter, as many as 500 manatees gather in a protected estuary 10 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico seeking a warm-water refuge. And because there's no place like Kings Bay, tens of thousands of visitors gather here. There are plenty of opportunities for anyone who visits Citrus County, about 60 miles north of Tampa, to meet a manatee face to face. Nearly 40 commercial operators, permitted by the refuge, conduct tours daily by boat or kayak, charging anywhere from $25 to upwards of $100 a head. The manatees cannot survive in water below 60 degrees. It is illegal under Florida law “to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.” Crystal River, a city of 3,600, has an old-fashioned, slow-paced ease and bills itself "Home of the Manatee."Crystal River is located on the Crystal River. The Crystal River Energy Complex, which consists of four coal-burning power plants and the Crystal River 3 Nuclear Generating Station, is located near the mouth of the river. View Larger Map The Crystal River is a very short river in Citrus County, Florida flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. It is just seven miles (eleven kilometers) long, and has a drainage basin of five square miles (thirteen square kilometers), joining Kings Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. he river's significance is in the thirty natural springs that add an average of 300 million gallons (1,135 million liters) of warm water to the river every day. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a 180-acre preserve about eight miles south of Crystal River. The 14-acre Crystal River Archaeological State Park, just west of Crystal City, is the setting of an ancient Native American temple mound and a ceremonial burial site. The park contains a six-mound complex, built by pre-Columbian mound builders, believed to have been occupied for 1,600 years. References: A Swim With Manatees: No Splashing, Please. NYT, 01/2009. Head to Crystal River to swim with the manatees. Chicago Tribune, 2011. Crystal River, Florida, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Crystal River (Florida), from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Crystal River Archaeological State Park, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Florida's friendly manatees photographed - Telegraph, 2011.
Crystal River & Rainbow River, Florida - Road Less Travelled blog

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