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 at 3:30 p.m. (a $29 value).
- For $25, you get a Manatee Swim tour, which includes rental gear, at 7:30 a.m. (recommended for the summer and fall months) or 11 a.m. (a $55 value).
The Dolphin Encounter transports tour-goers on a two-hour 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. Along with flippered friends, patrons will set sights on a menagerie of land-loving critters, such as American bald eagles and wild pigs, and landmarks such as Indian Mounds. Dolphins can be spotted on 8 out of 10 trips, and their lower-back tattoos can be spotted on 4 out of 10.
The Manatee Swim sets guests on a journey to engage in close encounters with nature's cutest cow. These sweet-potato-shaped sweethearts are famously hospitable toward human visitors, whom they almost always greet with curiosity and their favorite knock-knock joke. 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.
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.