The park is one of the best places in the state to view manatees, some of which are treated at the park before being released into the wild. Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. Manatee programs are offered three times daily.
The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters.
At the Wildlife Encounter programs, snakes and other native animals are featured. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird-watching. The park features a children's education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida's environment.
Transportation from the visitor center on U.S. 19 to the West Entrance is available by tram or boat.
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"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.":
Florida's friendly manatees photographed - Telegraph, 2011.