10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, USA
www.leeparks.org/Facility_in… - (239) 690-5030
Manatee Park Fort Myers Reviews
How about a snort? Feb 28, 2015
A very pleasant diversion in Ft. Myers. Manatee Park is a water inlet abutting the Gulf of Mexico just downstream from a power plant. Because the facility discharges water used for cooling purposes into the Orange River, the surrounding pathways to the sea are a big hit with manatees on chilly days!
The only cost is a $5 parking fee, entirely by honor system. For the privilege of enjoying the site you are expected to stop at the Visitor Center and grab a Parking Envelope. You seal your money up in the envelope and drop it in a bin, after tearing off a strip that vouches for your payment. The voucher is to be displayed on the dashboard of your car, but of course there is no way to prevent folks from simply removing the voucher without depositing funds.
Once parked, there are paved trails running along the discharge canal to view manatees My friends shared they had been here several weeks ago on a cold day and were astonished to witness hundreds of the languid creatures bobbing about. Kayak and canoe rentals are available and we saw many folks capitalizing on that option to get up close and personal with the manatees.
Temperatures hovered around eighty degrees during our visit, so not so many manatees around. They were there, however, occasionally snorting and visible as hulking, murky figures just beneath the water surface. Manatees can remain submerged for quite a long time and only seem to nudge their noses above the waterline when seeking another breath. Regardless, fun to spot these beasts.
The park offers an unexpectedly deep offering of options. The trails have a wonderful diversity of local flora, including a well-populated butterfly garden. There are plentiful picnic facilities, a playground and fishing pier as well (which affords great manatee viewing as well). There is also a Visitor's Center, which apparently contains a gift shop, but I didn't venture inside. It was too nice outside!
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