Blue Spring State Park – Popular Winter Haven For Manatees
Nothing can match the beauty, serenity, and majesty of Blue Spring State Park located in Orange City, Florida. It’s a short 35-minute drive just north of Orlando. The park is home to the largest spring on the St. Johns River. The spring has a year-round water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and discharges an astonishing 104 million gallons of water each day! The spring flow runs approximately 1,050 feet to the St. Johns River. And all along its path, you’ll find an extraordinary lush forest filled with dense hardwoods and palms. Stunning live oaks bend over the flow creating a tropical wonderland. No wonder Kobee Manatee calls Blue Spring his home!
Since manatees are warm-blooded mammals, they can’t tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result Blue Spring State Park is a designated Manatee Refuge and it is quickly becoming a very popular winter home to the West Indian Manatee population.
The park sits on more than 2,600 acres. Manatee viewing season begins on November 15th and runs through April 15th. If you have never seen manatees close up or if you just want to enjoy watching these lovable gentle giants, do yourself a big favor and visit Blue Spring when the manatees are there! During this time however, no canoeing, swimming, snorkeling or diving in the park is allowed.
Whatever your outdoor passion is, look no further than Blue Spring State Park. Riverboat tours are very popular. You’ll enjoy a two hour narrated cruise. For reservations, call St. Johns River cruises at (386) 917-0724. Or visit them at www.sjrivercruises.com.
You’ll also find picnic areas and a scenic hiking trail at Blue Spring. For overnight stays, six – two bedroom cabins are available for you. These can accommodate up to six people. Each one has a gas fireplace, central heating and cooling, a bathroom, a kitchen including a stove and a refrigerator, screened porch and grill. You’ll be supplied with linens, pillows, blankets, towels, along with cooking and eating utensils. Each cabin allows two vehicles. You can make reservations up to 11 months in advance by calling (800) 326-3521 or Book Online.
Fifty-one campsites are located at sand pine scrub, which is within walking distance to the spring. Each campsite has a picnic table, water, electricity and a grill. Blue Spring State Park also offers the Bedtime Story Camper Lending Library of picture books for campers ages four to nine. Ask at the Ranger Station on how to borrow a book, or get your own souvenir copy of the award-winning children’s picture book, Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida at The Manatee Gift shop!
The gift shop, restaurant, camp store and water activities rental station are all located by the public swimming area. For more information contact Blue Spring Enterprises, Inc. at (386) 775-6888, www.myfloridamanatee.com
Kobee Manatee and I are on a mission to educate and save the manatee’s while providing educational fun. Join us!