Manatee Park Fort Myers

Manatee Park Ft Myers is a fantastic place to see manatees in the wild!

Located just outside the city of Fort Myers, the Lee County Manatee Park is on a warm water discharge canal in Southwest Florida that branches off of the Caloosahatchee River, near the Florida Power and Light power plant.

The 17-acre regional park is open all year round, and it might be considered one of the smallest, but it services over 200,000 visitors each year and in my personal opinion, it is one of the best places to visit. To increase the likelihood of seeing one these gentle creatures, you need to come during the cooler winter months of November - March when they are searching for warm water refuge.

manatees in the wild

Manatee Viewing Center

We've gone in January and seen lots of them! There are 3 covered viewing platforms along the river with seating and telescopes.

The viewing areas are connected by a pathway lined with native plants and beautiful butterfly gardens, it's another lovely place for watching manatees in the water and enjoy all of the surrounding beauty. The last time we went, we saw adults and babies, some had barnacles on them and some had scars probably from being injured by motor boat blades.

These gentle giants or "sea cows" as they are also affectionately known, are really kind of cute ... they go below the water and then surface, and you can hear the manatees making shushing and sputtering noises as they breathe out.

Apparently, they can hold their breath for 20 minutes! Be aware that you are not allowed to feed them and please, pets are also not allowed with the exception of service animals.

manatee park

Nature Trails

You can take a walk on nature paths and trails that wind through beautiful gardens and enjoy some of the wildlife.

wildlife parks in florida


You can fish from the fishing pier on the Orange River.

Kayaking and Kayak Tours

You can bring your own kayak as there is a public self launch available or rent a kayak from the Manatee Kayaking Company (239) 913-9993. A guided manatee kayak tour is also offered.

manatee park ft myers

Educational Programs

Volunteer naturalists give talks during season. The program is for all ages, and is about what manatees eat, where they live, and the challenges they face.

manatee parks in florida

Other Amenities

A playground, tiki hut picnic shelter rentals for parties, picnic tables and an area with charcoal grills, souvenir gift shop and a visitors center are available.

manatee park fort myers florida
feeding manatees

Which Other Parks in Florida have Manatees?

You can also see manatees in Florida State Parks in Homosassa Springs and Chiefland, Florida.

manatees in florida state park

Can You Swim with Manatees?

You can swim with manatees in Crystal River ... all of these places are north of Tampa. We swam with manatees in Crystal River several years ago and it was amazing! We had an early morning boat tour and had to watch a video first about safety and rules, then get into wet suits.

We searched for a bit until we found a mom and her baby and we were able to pet them and scratch their tummies.

I don't know if you can make out the manatee's snout and nostril in the upper center of the photo below. My daughter is behind her with a diving mask and gear on.

We put our hands on their backs and followed them around as they swam ... it was so cool!

But you don't have to drive 4 hours away, it's just as cool to watch a Florida manatee at our Fort Myers park.

manatees in florida

How Much Does Manatee Park Cost?

The parking fee is $2 per hour or $5 per day and $10 for shuttle vans, $20 for tour buses.

Are There Alligators in Manatee Park?

While there is no guarantee that you will see one, there are alligators that have been seen in the park.

What is the Best Time to See the Manatees?

The best time to see the manatees is when the gulf water temperatures fall below 68F. Typically in Fort Myers that would be late December - February.

Are Dogs Allowed at Manatee Park?

No dogs are allowed at the park with the exception of service animals.

What are the days and times that Manatee Park is open? Are they open on holidays?

The hours of operation for the park is that they are open every day including holidays from 8am to sunset.

Is there a gift shop?

Yes, there is a small gift shop run by the Manatee Kayaking Company where you can find drinks, snacks, souvenirs, and shirts.

manatee park fl

The video below shows more of Manatee Park Fort Myers:

For more information, go to:

Manatee Park Fort Myers
10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Route 80

manatee signs

Related Pages to Manatee Park Ft Myers

About Alligators
Butterfly Estates
Naples Zoo
The Shell Factory
Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve
The Florida Aquarium

Burrowing Owls
Burrowing Owl Festival
Rotary Park
Cape Coral Eco Park
Cape Coral Parks
Star Gazing

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