Last updated on December 9th, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Manatee

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 manatee festivals is expected to draw thousands of people:

The 2020 Orange City Blue Spring Manatee Festival 

  • When: Jan. 25-26, 2020, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where:  Valentine Park, West French Avenue off of Highway 17-92.
  • Admission: $8 for adults and $2 for children 4 to 10. Children 3 and under are free. (Dogs: $10)
  • 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
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Three Sisters Spring (Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Three Sisters Spring filled with manatees (Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Crystal River 2020 Florida Manatee Festival 

  • When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan 19, 2020
  • Where: Downtown Crystal River, at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and U.S. 19, stretching up through the shops and restaurants of Heritage Village and surrounding areas, down to the waterside area along King’s Bay.
  • Admission: Donations are $5 for adults; children 12 and under 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. The last bus departs for Three Sisters Springs at ​3:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
  • 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 to the festival grounds.
  • Festival activities include music on three stages, a Kid Zone, free access and shuttle to Three Sisters Springs and a wine and beer garden.
  • Manatee Boat Tours will be available from the City Pier at the end of Third Street. The hafl-hour tours will take you out into Kings Bay and other favorite hangouts of the manatees. There is a separate ticket: Adults $10. ages 6 to 12 $5; 5 and under free.
  • Festival’s official site
  • Find a Hotel in Crystal River
  • Find a campsite near Crystal River on ReserveAmerica
Manatees at Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach.
Manatees at Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach.

2020 Family ManateeFest in West Palm Beach

When: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

Where: The FPL Eco-Discovery Center, 6000 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, an environmental education center located at a major gathering point for manatees, where warm water flows from an FPL power plant.

Admission: Free.

ManateeFest 2020 is a free, family-friendly event with hands-on educational activities including photo opportunities with Mia the Manatee, an interactive selfie station, marine life face painting, art stations, and local and state environmental exhibitors. The event will offer a variety of food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, environmental booths and live music.

Details at Manatee Lagoon website

 More about Florida manatees

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Are dogs allowed on the shuttle buses?

  2. Avatar

    Do you rent out tables for crafts?