Recently, I traveled to Crystal River with a specific purpose in mind. I wanted to swim with the manatees of Florida. I booked with this attraction months in advance and when I drove up on their new location I was less than impressed. The cameras I was told were for hire were not charged and unavailable. They were only point and shoot cameras. There was only one changing room. BUT. . . Never judge a book by its cover. Although the office space is small and the souvenirs cheesy, you will not find a better venue for meeting manatees in thier natural habitat. This company puts a maximum of six people on thier pontoons. Only six! That almost ensures that your experience with the manatees will be very personal and intimate.The boat captain was very knowledgeable on manatees and the local waterways. We spent nearly three hours looking for the manatees and once found she was willing to stay longer so that everyone had an opportunity to interact with these wonderful gentle creatures.They are not beautiful animals to be sure but they are gentle, shy, and willing to approach humans.Even without the manatees, the time spent on the boat in glorious weather looking at beautiful waterfront homes is well worth the price of the ticket. I intend to go back but with the following in mind: bring a small bag to hold my wallet and camera, shorts and a hoodie and any drinks I may desire. Be aware there are no bathrooms. I missed many great photographic opportunities because I was under the impression that a camera would get soaked or stolen on the boat. The captain never leaves the boat and if you are remotely careful with your possesions they will be fine. Over all a very good deal for the money. I am going back!
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