As we were leaving the Manatee Festival we realized 75% of the crowd had already gone since we got there late and stayed for the last dog show so I told Richard to drive past the actual Park and see what the situation was. We were able to drive right in although there was only about an hour left before the park closed. We weren't sure where to go but parked at the first lot and walked down to where the gift shop was and found the walkway out to the water. It was a beautiful area and while we initially didn't see any manatees we still enjoyed the view There is actually a roped off area where you can swim. The water is 72 degrees year round and the water is crystal clear.
We noticed another walkway and decided to check it out... We were so excited to see this manatee He wasn't very big but the water was so clear you could really see him well.
About this time the park ranger asked everyone to start packing up to leave but being the rebel I am ~ I walked further down the walkway to the next "viewing area" and man was I ever rewarded for my defiance. I have never seen so many manatees in my entire life. I first noticed this guy who was just a couple of feet away from me
Only to look up and see about 30 or 40 more! They were everywhere and they were not docile. Nate says he thinks they were working on the next generation of manatees and I think he may have been right. I couldn't believe how close they got to us. One of the people out there said that they'll actually come up and bump you ~ just to say "hi." I was a little nervous cause we did see a gator coming in towards us and then lost site of him.
Even this guy was having a good day ~ Can you see the fish in his mouth. He was having quite a time trying to swallow it.
Anyway.. it was hard but we tore ourselves away before the rangers came after us ~ but not before Richard snapped one last parting picture
The manatees hang out here from about November thru March and we'll definitely be going back ~ hopefully soon.