I had heard that Three Sisters Spring, in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge was THE place to go to see manatees. And sure enough! The spring was totally packed -
And the area just outside the entrance to the spring was equally crowded. This is the only place where you can kayak and snorkel with the manatees, but when it's this crowded, they wisely close the spring to people.
But people are allowed just outside the closed area, and there are plenty of manatees there too. This one gave a kiss to the snorkeling guy. Apparently, they can't see too well, and are very curious.
When I was standing in line for the bus that goes to the spring, a reporter was interviewing us. I even got mentioned in the newspaper here.
We also went to Homosassa Springs State Park. There is a boat ride to the park, which is really like a small zoo.
Along the way we saw an osprey nest -
And lots of turtles sunning themselves.
The wildlife park has lots of animals native to Florida, including flamingos and various other birds -
And wood storks.
There were pelicans nesting -
And black vultures harassing the black bear.
I was excited to see a pair of whooping cranes, which are very rare.
And there was a bald eagle eager to pose for the camera.
There were lots of alligators in the lagoon, even some babies.
They do have one non-native Floridian, this gigantic hippopotamus.
There are some manatees here, and they have an underwater observatory to see them. But when we were there, the fish had taken over the underwater windows! There were several different kinds of fish, each in their own little bundle. Fascinating!