Central Florida / Festivals

January 2017 manatee festivals: Orange City and Crystal River

A manatee at Blue Spring State Park.Two large manatee festivals celebrate Florida’s beloved manatee every January – one in Orange City and one in Crystal River.  These two locations are probably the best places in the state to see manatees in clear water and in great numbers.

Each of these 2016 manatee festivals is expected to draw thousands of people:

The 2017 Orange City Blue Spring Manatee Festival 

  • When: Jan 28 and 29, 2017.
  • Where:  Valentine Park, West French Avenue off of Highway 17-92.
  • Admission: $8 for adults and $2 for children 4 to 10. Children under 3 are free.
  • The main attraction at the Orange City Manatee Festival are shuttle buses to the Blue Spring State Park for manatee viewing.
  • Other activities include arts and crafts booths,  face-painting, dancing and rides. The event benefits the Friends of Blue Spring State Park, scholarships and other Orange City organizations.
  • Festival’s official site
  • Find a Hotel in Orange City
  • Find a Campsite near Orange City on ReserveAmerica

Crystal River 2017 Florida Manatee Festival 

  • When: Jan. 14 and 15, 2017
  • Where: Downtown Crystal River.
  • Admission: Donations are $4 for adults; children under 12 free.
  • The key event is an open house at nearby Three Sisters Spring, where manatees are easy to see and watch in the clear spring water.
  • To park for the festival, go to  the southeast corner of the Kings Bay Shopping Plaza parking lot at US 19 and Kings Bay Drive.  There are frequent shuttles for $1 to the festival grounds.
  • Festival activities include arts and crafts booths, entertainment including  live music by Lester Freeman, one of the original recorders of the hit song, Some Kind of Wonderful, a wine and beer garden and big-screen TVs for football fans.
  • Festival’s official site
  • Find a Hotel in Crystal River
  • Find a Campsite near Crystal River on ReserveAmerica

 More about Florida manatees

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