UPDATE: With freezing temperatures expected for the second night in a row, between 300 and 500 manatees are expected to seek shelter in Three Sisters Springs, according to VisitCitrus.com.
There are more than 1,000 manatees in the Kings Bay/Crystal River/Homosassa River complex right now, according to estimates.
PREVIOUS STORY: CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Here in Florida, we might fuss a bit when the temperatures drop, but the chilly weather is actually great time for one outdoor activity, viewing Florida’s beloved manatees.
Manatees seek warmer bodies of water when the temperatures drop.
Right now, hundreds of manatees are snuggling together at Three Sisters Springs which is located in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Citrus County.
There are so many manatees at Three Sisters, water access to the area is closed, but people can still view the manatees from the boardwalk. The boardwalk is open seven days a week during manatee season, which is from November 15 to April 1. See a list of manatee viewing locations here.
Citrus County Visitor and Convention Bureau spokesperson Miles Saunders said the large number of manatees are expected to remain in the Three Sisters Springs area through the cold spell and possibly through the remainder of February.
When water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico begin to rise in mid-March, the manatees will begin to leave the King’s Bay area.
Here’s a fun fact you may not know, Citrus County is the only place in the United States where peple can legally swim with the manatees.
During the most recent aerial manatee survey held January 12 in Citrus County, there were 1,042 manatees.