In the yearly undersea family reunion, the manatee is the beloved great uncle, regaling wide-eyed dolphin calves with stories of his rowdy days as a professional pachinko player while munching on algae. Pay respects to everyone's favorite aquatic patriarch with today's Groupon to Snorkel with Manatees, located in Crystal River. Choose between the following options:
- For $14, you get a Crystal River Dolphin Encounter tour, held at 1:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. (a $29 value).
- For $25, you get rental gear and a manatee swim tour, held at 7:30 a.m. (recommended for the summer and fall months) or 10:30 a.m. (a $49 value).
The Crystal River Dolphin Encounter transports tour-goers on a high-speed boat ride to the Gulf of Mexico, where playful pods of bottlenoses torpedo about, feeding, frolicking, and holding out their fins for human high-fives. Dolphins can be spotted on 8 out of 10 trips, and a menagerie of land-loving critters such as American bald eagles and wild pigs grace the shores along the way. Over the course of your two-hour safari, you'll form such a deep emotional connection with the dolphins that you might even exchange PO Box numbers, joining the elite ranks of the human-marine mammal chain-letter exchange.
The manatee swim sets guests on a journey to engage in close encounters with nature's cutest cow. These friendly, sweet-potato-shaped sweethearts are curious and willing to interact with their human visitors in games of water polo, which often devolve into whimpers of adorableness. On the day of the tour, a Snorkel with Manatees captain will pick adventurers up from the docks of Aquamarina Twin Rivers, where snorkel equipment will be provided. The captain ferries up to six guests to the mouth of the Crystal River for a three-hour tour with the droopy-faced darlings of the deep. During the summer months, approximately 70 manatees will frolic with human chums, and aquatic attendance can reach 400 in the winter. The attentive captain often gets in the water to ensure a safe experience, and trained scuba and swim instructors will also be on hand to calm water worriers.
Snorkel with Manatees
Snorkel with Manatees' expert divers lead tours on underwater sojourns to discover peaceful manatees and environs beneath the waves. Offering both group and mini manatee tours year-round, the guides monitor each diver to ensure safe practice with the animals. Their Crystal River scallops tour scours the ocean floor for tasty scallops while avoiding crabs auditioning for The Little Mermaid revival, and the Snorkel with Manatees excursions explore the Crystal, Homosassa, and Chassahowitzka Rivers on airboat. They also teach the fundamentals of their craft during discover scuba-diving lessons.