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“Fair Play” 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.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fair Play”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

I had scheduled a manatee tour with Birds online for some guests visiting the area. The weather had been heating up and when warm enough the manatees retreat out to the Gulf to feed. Birds called the day before our scheduled trip and said it was unlikely we would see any Manatees and they would refund the money ...no questions asked.

On the assigned day I drove over the bridge and saw one manatee heading for the sanctuary so we went back to Birds and rented a kayak and was able to see four of the critters. Birds is a very helpful and fair business to the patron

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank paddyPortland_Oregon
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 28, 2014
Thank you for your posting on TripAdvisor. Bird's Underwater has been returning money for many years because we don’t want vacations ruined by bad conditions. The weather conditions are out of our hands and there is only so much we can do so we try to call at least 2-3 days worth of customers when conditions are not predicted to be good for finding manatees, We even shut off the On-line bookings for the later tour. We have a conditions page on our website and try to keep it updated. We hope you will be able to come back (give us a call for conditions) and we will try to help you out again.
We are happy that you were lucky enough to find some to view when kayaking the bay.

Thank you again for taking the time to post your review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Chicago
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“It's cold but worth it!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

Last week we took our 2nd manatee trip with Bird's and had a great time. Our first was 2 yrs ago, and we were so happy that we ( 2 adults, a 9 yr old and an 11 yr old) took another trip to Florida just to revisit our manatee adventure. We had Captain Jeff who was has years of experience with animals and water excursions and was very informative and interesting. Because it was so chilly for the 6am tour, we saw at least 50+ manatee including mothers and babies.

The nice thing about Bird's is that the staff get in the water with you and swim with you to the best viewing locations. This is not true with other companies. Bird's also videotapes your group in the water, which you can then purchase after the tour. Unfortunately, the battery on Capt. Jeff's camera wasn't working, so we only have my husband's still shots, but at least we have photos.

All in all, we had a special time that is unique to the area, and will visit the manatee and Bird's again soon.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank jaydog09
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, March 11, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review Bird's Underwater on TripAdvisor. We appreciate you returning for a second tour with us and happy for you that it was full of manatees! We apologize for the technical difficulty with our camera, but happy that you got some good shots of your own. We look forward to seeing you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hialeah, Florida
1 review
“Off day for manatees, but great service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

Yesterday I went snorkeling with Bird's Underwater as part of a college group. We took the 6 am tour and the group was spread out across 3 boats. They told us before we left that due to the warmer weather the past few days, that we probably wouldn't see a lot of manatees. On our boat, we had Captain John and he was very knowledgeable. He took us to Three Sisters first which was absolutely beautiful. There we saw 5 manatees, and the water was crystal clear. After snorkeling for some time there, we all headed back to the boat and had hot drinks and donuts. Captain John made every effort to find more manatees for us, but unfortunately all of the other ones we found, left the area or moved to unsafe areas for snorkeling. I had a wonderful time and highly recommend this company to anyone who wants to swim with manatees. Can't wait to come back when it's cold again!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Arlene S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Fantastic and informative tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2014

The 6am tour is a very early start, but as their website says, it's prime time for manatees. Staff at birds have been very helpful and friendly getting the snorkel kit together, wetsuit provided was thick and had a good fit. The boat I was on carried only 6 people and we left in the dark aiming to be first at the springs. Jeff was a great captain, providing many interesting facts about manatees and marine life. Arriving early at the springs meant that the water was at its clearest, we saw plenty of active manatees cruising around. Birds encourage passive observation and Jeff guided us well around the springs area. After about two hours of snorkelling, we returned to the boat having donuts and coffee waiting. I was glad I brought a fleece jacket with me, as it was a tad chilly that morning.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Danilein
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 18, 2014
Thank you for your mention of a jacket, it can be cold while on the boat especially after being in the water for an hour or two. Thank you for joining Bird's Underwater for your manatee experience and for your kind review of our service and staff.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Terrific Day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2014

Thank you Donna from Bird's for a great morning! We have snorkeled with Bird's and the Manatees before so knew the type of customer service to expect. It's why we came back. Since the last time we were in Crystal River about 12 years ago this little enterprise on King's Bay has grown considerably. What hasn't changed is their concern and devotion to the Manatees and working to ensure a good family experience. Donna was very knowledgeable about the springs, bay and Manatee habitat. She never made any one feel rushed or uncomfortable. This was our first time to do Manatees in February and what a joy. To see nature so close and view, mamas, babies, sleeping and frisky Manatees is amazing. I can only encourage anyone that takes this trip to SLOW DOWN, stop if you have to, enjoy the Manatees at their pace not our hectic pace. This is one time to forget where you need to be later today or what needs to be done. The Manatees don't care about what's on your agenda...for a few brief hours you shouldn't either.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Linda S
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 18, 2014
"The Manatees don't care about what's on your agenda...for a few brief hours you shouldn't either." Wonderful advice! Thank you for sharing that on TripAdvisor and thank you for joining Bird's again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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