For a truly up-close and personal experience with manatees one of the best places to visit is Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
Endangered West Indian manatees are found in fresh, brackish and salt water. They are most comfortable in temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit and have a diet that consists of seagrass and other aquatic plants. In the winter manatees congregate in warm springs, making Crystal River NWR in Kings Bay an ideal place to see large groups of manatees in their native habitat.
In 2010 NWRA helped permanently protect Three Sisters Springs – now part of Crystal River NWR – insuring manatees will continue to have access to these beautiful natural springs.
Watch the clip below to take a dive with CNN to learn more about visiting Crystal River NWR and swimming with manatees!