What You'll Get
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 your respects to everyone's favorite aquatic patriarch with today's Groupon from Snorkel with Manatees, located in Crystal River. Choose between the following options:
- For $25, you get a manatee swim tour and rental gear (a $49 value). Available times are 7:30 a.m. (recommended for the summer and fall months) and 10:30 a.m.
- For $14, you get a dolphin encounter tour (a $29 value). Available times are 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The manatee swim sets you on a journey to engage in close encounters with nature's cutest cow. Friendly and inquisitive, these sweet-potato-shaped aquatic sweethearts are curious and willing to interact with their human visitors in games of water polo, which more often than not devolve into whimpers of adorableness. On the day of your tour, a Snorkel with Manatees captain will pick you up from the docks of Twin Rivers Marina, where you will suit up in the provided snorkel equipment. The captain will then take you and up to five others near the mouth of the Crystal River for three hours of water time with the droopy-faced darlings of the deep. During the summer months, approximately 70 manatees will join you and your human chums, and during the winter months, aquatic attendance can reach 400. Your attentive captain will often get in the water with you to ensure a safe experience, and trained scuba and swim instructors are also on hand for water worriers.
If the underwater mixer gets too crowded, opt for the Crystal River Dolphin Encounter, 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 are spotted eight out of ten trips, and a menagerie of land-loving critters like American bald eagles and wild pigs grace the shores on the way out.
Through the course of your nearly three-hour aqua snuggle or safari, you'll form such a deep emotional connection with the manatees and dolphins that you might even exchange PO Box numbers, joining the elite ranks of the human-marine mammal chain-letter exchange.
Call in advance to make a reservation. Not valid on holidays.
- Just hanging out in the water with the manatees was incredible, as they were mostly completely unbothered by our presence and just kept on eating the sea weeds and grasses and one even went to sleep. – DarrelR, TripAdvisor
- We made the six hour drive from Miami just to swim with manatees. It was an amazing weekend getaway. Gene was great to go with--he understands the way manatees act in the wild and asks his guests to respect them. But doing it his way got great results! We got to rub their bellies and they even gave us kisses! – Ashley, Google Maps
- Just looking at these large animals swim by you is breathe taking [sic] enough, but getting to touch them and observe them in their natural habitat leaves me speechless. GO! DO IT!! It'll be worth every penny. – BearnJune, TripAdvisor
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires Jun 22, 2011. Amount paid never expires. Minimum 2 people per tour, no more than 6 people in 1 outing. Reservation required; subject to availability. 7-day cancellation notice. Must sign waiver. Not valid on holidays. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.
About 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.