Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring, pouring forth over one hundred million gallons of water a day, and like the springs around Crystal River, the water stays a constant seventy-two degrees year round. So manatees love it, and many will swim miles up the St. Johns River to get to it.
We took a boardwalk path up to the source of the spring and got exceptional views of all sorts of wildlife along the way. Turtles, alligators, and any number of birds and fish, but the stars of the show were being quite shy. The half dozen or so manatees we saw were all resting on the other side of the river from the path, so we didn't get a very good view.
But that was fine with us, we really didn't want to get greedy. We had already experienced about the best manatee encounter anyone could ever hope for.
One of the groups working to preserve the manatee population is Friends of Blue Springs State Park. For twenty-eight years they have been raising funds and awareness with The Orange City / Blue Springs Manatee Festival.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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