Ok-we are New Yorkers-and I don't know what we were thinking when we decided to hightail it to Crystal River Florida's Plantation on Crystal River– which is essentially a hotel RIGHT on the river- overlooking the habitat of the manatees. I think that is what attracted me most-the fact that we could ROLL out of bed and just soak up the natural beauty- and make a beeline for the Plantation Adventure Center and wet suit up- get on a boat and get up close and personal with manatees (who by the way may be quite large- but are like these gentle giants).
Of course Plantation on Crystal River is SPECTACULAR in and of itself- there's a real old southern charm to it and this sense that life here is all about savoring the moments, the tranquility of the King's Bay and the beauty inherent in its flora and fauna.
In the hotel's stunning lobby!
And the BEST part -they let me bring my two DOGGIES!!
Their heated lagoon style pool- was one our NYC kids could not wait to jump into(check out their video below!)
Oh and their West 82 º Grill which overlooks the magnificence of the King's bay- serves up some of the most scrumptious breakfast treats– like Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes and Build your own Omelettes! More TASTY pics here: http://instagram.com/melissaschapmanwriter
And we got the most chock full of info and really fun and insightful Scenic Tour of the bay- where we did spot some manatees- Thanks to the Plantation Adventure center —Check out some of the magnificent shots I got on my instagram account – which include ones like these-simply breathtaking!
BUT NOTHING PREPARED ME for the intensely visceral feeling I got from being nose to nose with sea creatures who inhabit Crystal River Florida's waters. It was like MAGIC. But even more importantly this experience is one i hope will open the eyes of my kids to the importance of revering and caring for these sea creatures who share our world. And these tours bring education into the mix in such a fun and subliminal way- you don't even realize that you are soaking in all these facts- as a parent there is nothing more I could hope for
Here we are getting suited up at their Plantation Adventure center
On the BOAT headed to swim with the Manatees thanks to Plantation Adventure Center Crystal River Florida— We learned how to interact with the Manatees and a bit about their habitat and lifestyle- THERE is such a reverence and respect for them- it almost makes me want to weep!
And here we are– getting up close and PERSONAL!!! There are TEARS all over my keyboard as I type this FYI
The best part of the experience of swimming with the manatees-for me- was imparting my kids with an understanding of all creatures in our world…. I truly feel so moved by it.