The park functions as a warm water refuge area for Florida manatees. The best time to view the animals is when the Gulf of Mexico's water temperature falls below 68 degrees, normally during the months of December, January and February. The park sits on the Orange River and features both a pier for fishing and a launch area for canoes and kayaks. Kayak rentals are available without a reservation during the high tourist months of December through March; during the rest of the year, a visitor would need to make a reservation through the equipment provider, CalusaBlueway Outfitters.
The park also has a butterfly garden and an amphitheatre. Groups can rent the amphitheatre from April through November for $50 per day, as of 2015. Visitors should also be prepared to pay $5 per day for parking and to leave their pets at home. Those hoping to fish will need a saltwater fishing license, unless they fall in one of the exempt groups, such as children under the age of 16 or seniors 65 and older who are Florida residents.
Manatee Park, covering 17 acres, opened in 1996. While it is one of the smaller regional parks, it hosts over 150,000 visitors per year, as of 2015.Learn more about Outdoor Adventure