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  Florida manatees are found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal water ecosystems of the southeastern United States. They can live in fresh, brackish, or salt water. Manatees prefer waters that are about one to two meters (3-7 feet) deep. Along the coast, manatees tend to travel in water that is about three to five meters (10-16 feet) deep, and they are rarely seen in areas over six meters (20 feet) deep. This habitat provides them with sheltered living and breeding areas, a steady, easily obtainable food supply and warm water -- all of which they need to survive.

Before viewing manatees in the wild, please read manatee protection tips for boaters and divers and swimmers.

To See Manatees Living In The Wild:

There are lots of places in Florida to observe manatees. In the winter when the weather is cooler, generally November through March, you might be able to see manatees in the wild, clustered around warm water sources. Here are four areas that Save the Manatee Club recommends:

Florida's East Coast:

Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, FL (between Orlando and Daytona Beach)
See the Blue Spring manatees in SMC's Adopt-A-Manatee program

Florida Power and Light Co.
Manatee Observation Center
(usually open January 2 through February 28)
Riviera Beach, FL
1-800-552-8440 (choose Our Environment and then Endangered Species)

Note: Due to a heightened security status, the FPL Riviera Beach Manatee Viewing Area is currently closed.

Florida's West Coast:

Tampa Electric Company
Manatee Viewing Center
(open November through April 15)
Apollo Beach, FL
813-228-4289 for an information recording
Check out their Manatee Web Cam!
See the Tampa Bay manatees in SMC's Adopt-A-Manatee program

Lee County Manatee Park
(open year-round)
Ft. Myers, FL
(choose Parks, then Regional Parks, and then Manatee Park)

To See Manatees Living In Captivity:

If the weather is warmer, manatees are more widely dispersed. A few manatees may range as far north as Virginia and as far west as Texas during the summer months (one manatee was even documented in Rhode Island), but these sightings are rare. Summer sightings in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are relatively common.

From April through October, you will probably only be able to see manatees at captive facilities. Save the Manatee Club recommends the following:

Florida's West Coast:

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Homosassa, FL (75 miles north of Tampa)
See the Homosassa Springs manatees in SMC's Adopt-A-Manatee program

Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa, FL
(Choose Zoo Attractions and then Animal Habitats)

Parker Manatee Aquarium
South Florida Museum
Bradenton, FL

Central Florida:

SeaWorld Orlando
Orlando, FL
407-351-3600 (choose SeaWorld Orlando, Experiences & Attractions, Animal Attractions, and then Manatee Rescue)

The Living Seas at Epcot/Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL
407-824-4321 (search for The Living Seas)

Florida's East Coast:

Miami Seaquarium
Miami, FL
(Choose Attractions and then Presentations)

To See Manatees Outside of Florida:

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Powell, Ohio
(Choose Animal Areas, Shores, and then Manatee)

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cincinnati, Ohio
(Choose Exhibits/Gardens, Animals Exhibits, and then Manatee Springs)

SeaWorld SanDiego
San Diego, CA 92109
(choose SeaWorld San Diego, Attractions & Events,
Animal Attractions, and then Manatee Rescue)

We believe that the endangered Florida Manatee is one of Florida's most important natural resources and must be protected. For this reason, Manatee Gourmet Coffee has pledged to donate a portion of every sale to Manatee Conservation.


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