Florida’s marine mammal is the manatee. Even though you can see this goofy-looking, cute mammal all along the gorgeous gulf coast, you’re lucky if you’re catching the view of one for a couple of seconds when it surfaces for air.
When you want to get a better look at these beautiful creatures and be able to see a lot of them at one time, the place that you want to go is Lee County Manatee Park. Located in Ft. Myers, this is the place to go when you are looking to get a good look at Florida’s most popular mammal.
When to Visit and Where You Should Go
This park’s found on State Road 80 at 10901. It’s found right across the road from Florida Power & Light. The park opens up at dawn, closing at dusk. The parking fee is $1 between April and November, $2 the other months.
The manatees are only at this park when the temperature in the gulf is below the temperature of 68. So you want to go during winter. You can go to their website to find out when there are manatees about. You also want to go earlier during the day since manatees often go out later on to feed.
Why are Manatees Coming to the Power Plant?
One byproduct of power being generated at the power plant is that warm, clean water is being released into Orange River, which is very brackish. Generally, manatees are very particular when it comes to water. They’re warm blooded, and they want water that’s a minimum of 68 degrees. Even though they’re journeying to the gulf to get food, they’re usually close to the shore in the inlets and coves.
Since the opening of the plant, manages know that it’s a place that they can come during wintertime to warm up. They’re also very smart and that’s the reason you’re going to see a lot of them there. They even choose the park for mating and raising their young.
Viewing Manatees by Kayak and Land
This manatee park might not be the one that’s the biggest but you’re going to find concessions, tours, an amphitheater, places to picnic and places for large groups. You’ll find some great places for viewing these fascinating creatures close to the water, and this includes a place where you’re able to see under the water, as well as hear them. You’re going to find less crowded areas down towards the end. When you are ready to return, you’ll find a boardwalk that goes through the gorgeous mangrove trees that you might enjoy.
You also can bring a kayak or rent one if you want to get up close and personal with the manatees. The lovely Orange River’s known as one of the no wake zones, so you’ll be able to spend some time with the manatees outside of the park. You can also paddle along the river where it’s possible to see other wildlife from Florida and you won’t be disturbed by motor boats. It’s extremely peaceful and relaxing and a great way that you can spend some of your day in Florida.
Calusa Blueway Outfitters
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p. m. daily.
Rentals must be returned by 4:30 p.m.
Gift Shop: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily
Park Hours & Information
Manatee Park – Lee County
10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33905
Park Hours: 7:00am to sunset
Planning a Trip to Southwest Florida?
After seeing Florida’s manatees, return to the beauty and comfort of a home from Naples Florida Vacation Homes. We have a wide selection of homes located all over the Naples area. Whether you’re hoping to squeeze in a few rounds of golf during your visit or you’d like to relax by a private pool, you’ll find the perfect home to fit your needs.
Check out our rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.