We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Another great visit with the manatees thanks to Bird's”
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.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Another great visit with the manatees thanks to Bird's”
Reviewed January 12, 2014

My 8 year old son and I went out again with Bird's Saturday morning 11th Jan. This was our third trip with Bird's and each time has been excellent, this time included. Captain John did a great job briefing us and sharing tidbits of extra information about the manetees with our group. When things got a bit busy with other operators at the Three Sisters Spring Capt John took us over to another spring with less people where we had a great time with some friendly, chatty manetees. The complimentary hot chocolate/tea/coffee and donuts are a big hit as well! Thank you again to Capt John, Bill and the rest of the team there and see you soon again!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank EricandRyan
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 reviewing your manatee tour with Bird's Underwater on TripAdvisor. Repeat visitors are the best! We are glad to see that you appreciated the move from Three Sister's to another location where you could enjoy the manatees without bumping into and navigating around other snorkelers. Three Sister's is a beautiful spot but sometimes it is not so enjoyable with a large crowd there. We look forward to swimming with you again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

972 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    894
    50
    15
    6
    7
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
North of the 49th
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Cold morning -> Lots of Manatees!”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Had a great morning today at Three Sisters with Bird's Underwater. Captain Jeff provided a great commentary on the behaviour and physiology of these gentle giants on the way out to and back from the Springs. Cold weather meant for a chilly change out of wetsuits post snorkel, but the curtained area, warm coffee/cocoa and donuts helped break the chill.

This was my second visit with Bird's. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a great encounter and experience.

Many curious manatees came up fo have a look see while bobbing on the surface. What an amazing experience!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank canuck_diver42
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 return trip with Bird's Underwater and for your review on TripAdvisor. A return trip recommendation is a lovely compliment. Manatees are amazing and we love being able to share this experience over and over again.

thanks!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
459 reviews
126 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

The closest description I can give for the manatees is that they are like 1000 pound slow moving puppy dogs. We were amazed that they genuinely do seem to like the human interaction. The choice is up to the manatees as there are plenty of "off limits" areas they can go if they don't want to be around you. Birds Underwater did a very good job for an extremely reasonable price. We rode on John's boat (I recommend him as he is funny and knowledgeable). We took the 6am tour which means there are fewer boats and people to contend with at the spring. You should make sure your wet suit is extremely tight, so that you can almost not get into it (wet suit is included in price). John even has hot drinks and some donuts on the boat for after you get done. If it's winter, you're going to want something hot to drink. I couldn't recommend doing a manatee tour more as you'll have an incredible experience with these gentle giants. Remember to follow the rules and not to harass the manatees.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank ATL-travel71
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
Very well said! Most folks who are not used to wet-suits want to be comfortable right away but you are correct if it is tight it keeps the water from freely moving in and out while you are swimming. It is more comfortable once wet and will keep you warm longer.
Your review has great advice! It is important to follow the rules and listen to the captains. Capt John is a favorite and we are so lucky to have him on staff.

Thank you for your very knowledgeable review and advice!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Media, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Incredible experience”
Reviewed January 5, 2014

This was my second swim with Birds Underwater. The first time I went was in 2000. The staff has stayed equally friendly, organized, knowledgeable, and good at knowing where the manatee are hanging. Both times, we did the early tour, which is worth the super early wake up call, because the manatee are playful in the morning. After our swim, there was a curtained off area on the boat for getting into dry cloths, and hot drinks and donuts to warm us up. I just hope I don't wait another fourteen years before I go back there!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mami201
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 taking the time to review your trip with Bird's Underwater. We do enjoy seeing our guests return even after such a long time. We are happy that it was another rewarding tour for you and hope we see you again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The afternoon trip”
Reviewed January 5, 2014 via mobile

The afternoon trip was a little disappointing as far as manatee sitings. Birds however made an excellent effort to find them and get us nice and close. I was impressed with their knowledge and love for the animals. Our tour guide, though I can not remember her name, was awesome. She taught white water rafting in the summer and toured manatees in the winter. I would highly recommend them.

Helpful?
Thank Paul T
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 mentioning about our upfront policy about taking about conditions and number of manatees in the area. And thank you for coming out with us anyways and taking the chance. It does often turn out well but as with any encounter with nature and wild creatures you just never know and we have had our share of 'busts". We truly feel it is better to be honest with people than to have to make excuses after the fact and have our guests be unhappy.

Thank you for your review and hope we might see you again when it is a bit cooler with many manatees in the area.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Bird's Underwater also viewed

 

Been to Bird's Underwater? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing