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Fodor's South Florida 2014
Manatee Park Review
Here you may glimpse Florida's most famous, yet often hard to spot, marine mammal. When gulf waters drop to 68 degrees F or below—usually from November to March—the sea cows congregate in these waters, which are warmed by the outflow of a towering nearby power plant. Pause at any of the three observation decks (the first nearest the outflow and last at the lagoon usually yield the most sightings, as does the Fishing Pier) and watch for bubbles. Hydrophones on the last deck allow you to eavesdrop on their songs. Periodically, one of these gentle giants—mature adults weigh an average of 1000 pounds—will surface. Calusa Blueway Outfitters (see) run the Visitor Center/gift shop and offer kayak and canoe rentals, as well as clinics and tours to paddle the canals and get a closer look.
- Address: 10901 Palm Beach Blvd., 1¼ mi east of I–75 Exit 141 Fort Myers, FL 33905 | Map It
- Phone: 239/690–5030
- Cost: Park free. Parking Apr.–Nov. $1 per hr, $5 daily; Dec.–Mar. $2 per hr, $5 daily
- Hours: Park daily 8–sunset; visitor center Nov.–Mar., daily 9–4, Apr.–Oct., weekends 9–1.
- Website: www.leeparks.org
- Location: Fort Myers
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