Ah, the majestic Sea Cow. Is there anything more beautiful? Ever since hearing Jim Gaffigan’s bit on manatees (flip-flops, blob of shit) I have wanted to see these creatures up close. Thanks to a rainy day visit to Blue Springs State Park in Florida, I got to do just that. Turns out, Mr. Gaffigan isn’t far off in his description.
Where it’s at
Blue Spring State Park is located a short 40-minute drive north of Orlando. This makes it a great break away from the theme parks. Spread out over 2,600 acres, Blue Spring State Park is so much more than manatees. It’s clear spring rivers are home to an abundance of life including fish, gators, birds, and plenty of vegetation. It is also really pretty. Truthfully, I didn’t think this kind of beauty existed in Florida…
But I digress.
Blue Springs State Park is also home to hundreds of manatees. Numbers peak in the winter when these slow-moving blobs make their way upstream in search of warmth. To my surprise, I’m not the only one fascinated with seeing manatees in the wild. Blue Spring State Park sees thousands of visitors per year and even host a manatee-themed festival called, wait for it, Manatee Fest.
Yup, that’s a thing.
The first manatee I spotted was quickly written off as a sunken log. Then I saw another log, then another. I couldn’t believe the numbers. They are, of course, anything but majestic. In an effort to conserve energy, manatees move as little as possible during the winter months. What’s their excuse for the rest of the year? No, they aren’t just lazy. They lack natural predators and eat plants. No need for speed when you are hunting a salad. Surprisingly, the Florida manatees are endangered. Why? Man. Manatees often get tangled in fishing nets or run over by motorboats. This was evident with many of the
Surprisingly, the Florida manatees are endangered. Why? Manatees often get tangled in fishing nets or are run over by motorboats. This was evident as many of the manatees we saw had large scars on their backs.
The most we got out of viewing them “in action” was one drifting by. It didn’t even blink.
Worth the Visit
Visiting Blue Spring State Park is worth the trip just for a stroll on the boardwalk and seeing the colours of the river. Seeing some sea cows in action really is a bonus, flip-flops and all.
Blue Springs State Good to Know
Admission: $6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.
Don’t Miss: Boardwalk stroll and sea cow spotting!