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“A terrific experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Manatees In Paradise

Manatees In Paradise
1223 N. Circle Drive, Crystal River, FL 34429
+1 352-563-0865
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Ranked #1 of 38 Activities in Crystal River
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Attraction details
Owner description: No Walk-ins Accepted - We no longer offer tours: June-July-August-September due to the water quality and manatee numbers. Tour Reservation Confirmation Required -We are a private tour company owned and operated ONLY by the owners/captains.We offer very limited seating so we can give each tour the "personal and educational" attention you want and allow the manatees to feel comfortable while we explore their world. While on tour if you ask, we'll even explain how manatee rescues are performed and what we do in our spare time as manatee volunteers to help PROTECT and PRESERVE, this incredible species for future generations.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
18 reviews 18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A terrific experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2011

It's hard to add anything more to the terrific reviews that Stacy has received, except that they are all spot on! While Manatees in Paradise may be more expensive than others, it is still amazingly inexpensive for the experience. The real differentiator for me was the personal attention we were given. The water was murky the day we went, and without Stacy guiding us in to where the manatees were ("5 feet in front of you," "move to your left," etc.), we may have missed them. Instead, we had an amazing experience with some delightful, curious, gentle manatees. The pictures she sent us following our visit were also a nice surprise. Thank you, Stacy!

Visited November 2011
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563 reviews from our community

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London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2011

We had a fabulous and memorable experience with Capt Stacy. It was obvious from the outset that she really loves the manatees and wants to preserve them in as natural an environment as possible. She explained that we would have a better experience if we just floated quietly in the water and let the inquisitive manatees come and explore us rather than chasing after them. She was right. Although there weren't loads of manatees around we found a particularly accommodating mum and her babe (which had been scarred when it was run over by a boat). The baby proved incredibly inquisitive and played with us on two occasions for quite lengthy periods of time, allowing us to stroke and cuddle it. If we hadn't been wearing masks and snorkels, I think it would have given us a kiss. The hi-light came when we were just about to end our tour and the baby who had been called back by it's mum came swimming back to us to say a last farewell. Our twin daughters and we will never forget the experience.

Visited October 2011
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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
1 review
“What a memory!!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2011

I can't say enough about how great of an experience this was for my husband, two children and me! Captain Stacy is an amazing tour guide, dive master and friend to the manatees. Unlike some of the other tours, Captain Stacy sincerely cares about the treatment of the manatees! At 45 years old, I had never done anything like this. In my older years I have become fearful about silly things - like swimming in lakes (and I live on a Lake!). I have become a 45 year old wussy! But I got in and did it, and I am sooooo thrilled that I did. I am proud of myself for doing it and making such a huge memory (kind of like of bucket list). My kids loved it, and will now have a spectacular memory that they will remember fondly for the rest of their lives. Not to be too dramatic - but it was lifechanging! We are planning to go back in a couple of months!

Visited October 2011
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San Diego, California
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Stacy turns the special into magic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2011

I have had lots of very special experiences with wildlife, but nothing can beat the experience I just had thanks to Stacy and Manatees in Paradise. Stacy brings an amazing enthusiasm, knowledge set, and caring for both the animals and her guests. She went above and beyond to make sure my experience was as good as it could possibly be, even pulling me around by the hand to get me up-close-and-personal.

And did we ever get up-close-and-personal! How about having a manatee trying to snack on your hair? I got more manatee kisses and manatee hugs than I ever dreamed possible. These magical experiences were largely due to Stacy putting me in the right place at the right time and her instructions which made sure that I behaved in ways that made the manatees comfortable.

The standard tour is three hours and you certainly can have a great experience in that time. With a longer tour, though, Stacy can take you to more areas. Each place we went was different. One had lots of animals, but the water was a little murkey. One had just a few animals, but the water was crystal clear. Some places had lots of people and others just a few.

Manatees in Paradise may not be the lowest priced operator in the area, but it is well worth any extra amount they charge. Other boats had many more passengers and none of the personal care I received. None of the other boats I saw had the wind shelter of Stacy's. I also heard other operators giving their passengers bad advice and wrong information. In a couple of cases, this resulted in manatees moving away from those operators' guests, not only indicating unhappy manatees, but guests that had less than steller experiences. On top of everything else, Stacy took a ton of pictures of me with the manatees that she emailed to me within hours of our trip. Since she didn't charge for the photos, they certainly made up for any savings from a lower cost operator.

Do make sure to book in advance as they do not take walk-ins. If you're trying to choose an operator for a manatee swim, choose Manatees in Paradise. If you're trying to choose something to do on the gulf coast, go swim with manatees with Manatees in Paradise. If you are anywhere near Crystal River and need your spirit renewed, go swim with manatees with Manatees in Paradise.

Visited November 2011
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Hanover, Pennsylvania
1 review
“An awesome adventure with a guide who obviously cares about the future of manatees.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2011

We went on Captain Stacey Dunn's manatee tour while in Florida for a Disney vacation. It was a refreshing break from the amusement parks. Capt. Stacey was very friendly and knowledgable about manatees. It was also very apparent that she cares for the future of manatees as her guidelines emphasize that we are entering their world and need to respect their habitat. Captain Stacey was very good at finding the manatee hotspots. Although we went during a time of year when manatees can be sparse around the springs, we managed to find quite a few. Captain Stacy takes pictures and emails them to you within a day or two of your trip. She provides wet suits, goggles and snorkels and valuable advice on having the best encounter possible, while still repecting the manatees space. We liked it so much, we cut our Disney vacation short by a day and went back to do the manatee encounter a second time (equally as good the second time around).

Visited October 2011
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