Where Can I See Manatees in Florida?

Manatees During the winter months, manatees head for warm waters, such as springs and power plant discharge basins. For the remainder of the year, manatees are widely dispersed in Florida's waterways. The following is a list of some of the places where you can see manatees in Florida.

Note: GPS coordinates are located on the Map below

Manatees in captivity/rehabilitation

1. Walt Disney World's Epcot Center -
(407) 824-4321

Orlando, FL
--Manatees are found in "The Seas with Nemo and Friends" exhibit. Parking and entrance fees.


2. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (FPS)-
(Manatee Rehabilitation Center)
(352) 628-5343

Homosassa, FL (Headwater, spring run and Homosassa River)
--Park staff or volunteers present daily educational programs. Wild manatees now have access to the headwaters of Homosassa Spring during winter. Enclosed underwater viewing area allows visitors to see manatees near spring basin. Resident manatees year-round. Entrance fee.

3. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo -
(Florida manatee and aquatic center/hospital)
(813) 935-8552
Tampa, FL

--Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has manatee exhibit observation area and on-site hospital used for manatee rehabilitation. Entrance fee.

4. Miami Seaquarium -
(US Fish and Wildlife Service manatee critical care facility)
(305) 361-5705
Miami, FL

--Miami Seaquarium has outside and underwater manatee viewing areas. Facility’s highly trained rescue and rehabilitation teams recognized as national leaders in marine mammal care. Entrance fee.

5. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium -
(941) 388-4441
Sarasota, FL

--Mote Marine Lab exhibits manatees and other aquatic wildlife at its research facility. Research includes manatee biology, health, behavior and conservation efforts. Entrance fee.

6. SeaWorld of Florida -
(Animal rescue and rehabilitation program)
Orlando, FL

--SeaWorld has a theme park manatee program and viewing area. Marine Mammal Keeper Experience program offered to individuals. Staff assists with manatee rescue and rehabilitation. Parking, entrance and program fees.

7. Parker Manatee Aquarium -
(Second stage rehabilitation facility)
(941) 746-4131
Bradenton, FL
(Aquarium located in the South Florida Museum)
--Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty, oldest known captive manatee in the world. Volunteers can sign up to assist with care of Snooty and other manatees. Entrance fee.

What is the best way to observe a wild Florida manatee?

To help protect Florida’s wildlife, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages you to watch wildlife from a distance and to use binoculars or zoom lenses to extend your view. When you get too close to wild animals, problems may arise. When the animal uses energy to escape human disturbances, it no longer uses this energy to search for food, migrate to warm water sites, or store the energy in fat reserves for use during cold periods. Enjoy viewing wild Florida manatees at these locations (call ahead for current manatee viewing information):

8. Blue Spring State Park (Florida Park Service) -
(386) 775-3663
Orange City, FL
(Spring headwater and spring run on St. Johns River)
--Seasonal manatee programs held during winter months when manatees are in warm waters of spring run. Entrance fee.

9. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish and Wildlife Service) -
(352) 563-2088
Crystal River, FL
(Sanctuaries located in Kings Bay and surrounding waterways)
--During winter, view manatees near warm water sanctuaries via boat or from boardwalk near Three Sisters Spring (with boardwalk viewing on a limited schedule). Vendors offer in-water tours for a fee. Follow USFWS viewing guidelines in this area. During warm weather manatees disperse from the sanctuaries and spread out along the coast—sighting manatees during this time may involve some travel and luck.

10. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (FPS) -
(850) 561-7276
Wakulla Springs, FL
(Headwaters and river)
--Look for manatees from the park’s diving platform or various areas of the river via park’s tour boats. Fees for park entry and boat tours.

11. Fanning Springs State Park (FPS) -
(352) 463-3420
Fanning Springs, FL
(Spring and spring run on the Suwannee River)
--Manatees are occasionally present in Fanning Springs. Entrance fee.

12. Lee County Manatee Park -
(239) 690-5030
Fort Myers, FL
(Orange River and FPL Discharge Canal)
--Hundreds of manatees visit Orange River and canal during winter. Parking fee. Gates close at sunset.

13. Manatee Springs State Park (FPS) -
(352) 493-6072
Chiefland, FL
(Headwaters and spring run on the Suwannee River)
--During winter, look for manatees in spring and spring run. Entrance fee.

14. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS) -
(321) 861-0667
Merritt Island, FL
(Canal connects Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon)
--View manatees from platform overlooking Haulover Canal. Entrance fee.

15. Manatee Observation and Education Center -
(772) 429-6266
Fort Pierce, FL
(Moore's Creek and Indian River Lagoon)
--Open year-round with many programs. Occasional manatee sightings in winter. Entrance fee.

16. Spring Bayou near Craig and Coburn Parks -
(727) 942-5610
Tarpon Springs, FL
(Sheltered waterway near Florida's Gulf Coast)
--November through May, manatees visit freshwater spring bayou near small community parks. Parking limited in this historic district.

17. Tampa Electric Company (TECO) Manatee Viewing Center -
(813) 228-4289
Apollo Beach, FL
(TECO discharge canal off of Tampa Bay)
--Visitor center, gift shop, overlook and boardwalk where visitors learn about and see hundreds of manatees in TECO’s warm water discharge canal.

18. Wakulla and the St. Marks Rivers -
Panhandle of Florida

--Manatees may be seen by boat or canoe on these scenic rivers during the summer months. Canoe rentals are available on both rivers via SR 98 between Newport and Crawfordville and in St. Marks, FL. Manatees overwinter at either Wakulla Springs or in the Crystal River/Kings Bay area.

Florida manatees

Map with GPS Locations

Manatee_FLmap.jpg



FWC Facts:
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