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“Swim with the manatees”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Bird's Underwater

Bird's Underwater
Ranked #3 of 50 Tours in Crystal River
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Bird's Underwater Dive Center offer manatee snorkel tours, waterfront location, Swimming with the manatees in Crystal River, small group 6 person only tours with meals included, Manatee surface tours, Manatee educational tours, Manatee Awareness Program, Manatee Dives, Manatee Photography underwater, Manatee Photography above the water, Kayak rental, Kayaking with the endangered manatees in Crystal River, Florida, Enclosed Pontoon boats, snacks, Paddle boarding with the manatees, Group manatee tours, School Field Trip Manatee Tours, Handicap access to view or swim with the manatees, Waterfront Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Fl. Manatee swims from Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Kayaks included with nightly vacation rental houses, Kayaking in Homosassa, Fl. Dolphin sightings, early morning manatee tours, Late afternoon Manatee Tours. Scallop Tours, Scallop gear Sales, Scallop education. Scuba diving sales, Scuba Diving Instruction, Snorkel Equipment sales, Cavern Diving, Cavern Diving Instruction, Cave diving instruction, Nitrox instruction, Tri-Mix instruction, re-breather diving instruction. Members of Manatee Eco Tourism Association, Better Business Bureau, and Citrus County Tourism Division. Owned by Bill (Bird) and Diana Oestreich since 1993. Bill "Bird" and Diane Oestreich moved to Crystal River in 1989 and began teaching scuba diving and offering manatee snorkel tours. At that time there were only 3 hotels, one independent shop, and about 100 manatees that came to Citrus County in the winter months. Since then, Manatees have increased to over 1000 manatees in Citrus County alone in the winter, and there is an average population of about 35 manatees that remain in Kings Bay in the summer months. The Manatee Awareness Program was set up by Bird and Diana Oestreich in 1990 with the dive agency NAUI, then PADI, and now SDI offers the same program. They offer quality and personalized manatee tours with experienced and insured boat captains, all of which are at Divemaster level or higher. Manatee Tours average about 3 hours, but they do not have a set time in which they "pull" the customers out of the water in order to run another tour. All tours include drinks and snacks. Private tours include a full meal. Bird's Underwater Dive Center is located on the Kings Bay of Crystal River. You do not have to drive to a separate location to be on the water. Bird's Underwater is located on the dock behind the Dockside Trading Company. We are next to Charlies Fish House restaurant, and walking distance from Crackers restaurant. The Dockside Deli is located in the same parking lot. Main Street or Citrus Avenue is 2 blocks to the south, the Crystal River Mall is 1/4 mile north.
Empire, Michigan
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Swim with the manatees”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

Used Tripadvisor recommendations and booked with Bird's. We had an excellent experience on the last day of 2013. The 6am tour was great as we were the first ones there. It is scary at first b/c I am not comfortable in the water but you get used to it and just get entralled by these large, gentle animals swimming around you. My college age daughters thought it was a highlight of their lives. My wife snorkeled for the first time and took to it quickly. The wetsuit keeps you pretty buoyant and you can use a noodle to float. If you don't want to swim you can stay on the boat. The manatees loved chewing on the lines from the boat and at least six hung out around our boat just playing with the rope lines. Bird's is very professional and took good care of everyone onboard.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank theodoricoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HuManatee9, Guest Relations Manager at Bird's Underwater, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Thank you for your review on TripAdvisor and for using it to make your choice about using Bird's Underwater for your tour. You are right, it can be a bit disconcerting at first but the manatees are so gentle that they seem to calm our guests down and make the experience awesome for everyone. Thank you for joining us.
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Singapore, null, Singapore
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awesome snorkelling with manatees”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

Captain John was extremely knowledgeable and took good care of everyone on board. It was my first time snorkelling and it was a great experience. We started at 6am but it was all worth while when we got to see and touch the manatees up close!

Proper snorkelling wet suits and equipments were provided. There was hot coffee and drinks and donuts on board. Bring a camera that can film underwater if you have one, otherwise opt for the video by Captain John, it was pretty good! :)

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Amychulala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HuManatee9, Guest Relations Manager at Bird's Underwater, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Thank your for your review and recommendation and for choosing Bird's Underwater for your manatee tour. It is always good to have back up photos/ film of such a special adventure.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Havana
Level Contributor
88 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Awesome time with the Manatees!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2013

Snorkeling with these creatures was amazing and Bird's made it even better.

Don't be put off by the oh my god it is early start time (0600). This swim makes it worth wild and the lack of other boats (and other tourists) makes it very good! We swam with them in early December. As it was put to us, we were fortunate that the weather was warm as it made our swimming good, but it was was bad because there weren't very many manatees around.

Despite this, the captains did manage to find us a few to swim with and we even got a chance to pet one when he came over to say hi.

If you are in the area and want to do some manatee swimming, this is the company to do it with!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Trippy667
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
317 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“An Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2013

Swimming with the manatees is a once in a lifetime experience. Bird's Underwater ensures the group respects the manatees while having an exceptional experience. I was a bit hesitant at first as I was intimidated by their size. Weighing 600 - 1000 pounds, they are HUGE. You are literally in the middle of multiple manatees swimming around you. We saw at least 50 of them during the two hours we were in the water. You can even stroke their backs. Once I relaxed and just floated, the experience was absolutely enveloping.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Sarah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Capt. John is great! More manatees than I've ever seen before.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

I've traveled with Bird's Underwater once before, about 9 years ago and that was the last time I went to Crystal River. They're very good about having no negative impact on the manatees, while still maximizing people's ability to see and swim with the gentle giants. If you've never done this before and you're visiting West central Florida you must do this! And Bird's Underwater offers a great, safe experience. On our trip the boat offered a changing room, toilet (only for emergencies, let's be honest), hot coffee, hot water to make tea and cocoa and donuts from Dunkin! We paid $45 (check current prices) and it included a full wet suit, mask, snorkel, fins and bonnet (it was brrrrr cold and those were very necessary) as well as a noodle for buoyancy. You can get a video for $35 additional, but I recommend bringing an underwater camera of some variety. Do it while you still can! These animals are rare and FWS may not let us continue to swim with them much longer.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank cacutus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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