Listening to the Calm app one night there was a reading about manatees describing them as friendly and lovable goofs. While it was sweet and comforting, I didn’t fall asleep. But, it was engaging and I decided I needed to go to see a real manatee. I wanted to swim with the giant sea cows, described as herbivorous marine mammals. These large creatures do not prey on humans and are considered safe to swim with, although they weigh about 1,000 pounds and are typically 9-13 feet long.
After months of studying my options, the Manatee Springs State Park in Florida seemed a likely option since we were RVing down through the state on our way to the west coast for the winter. Manatee Springs State Park was described as “a first magnitude spring and haven for wintering manatees.” There were additional hiking options and multiple wildlife areas nearby as well.
Entering the park with heavy winds and 44-degree temps, I was unsure of the swim with the manatee option but was told there were many options to view birds and wildlife. Actually, seeing the manatees was exciting and the park was full of many birds, including herons, egrets, vultures, cormorants, mockingbirds, pie-billed grebes, pelicans and assorted other shorebirds.