Now would be a great time to brave the cold and check out the manatees at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City


  • Photo courtesy Save the Manatee Club via Blue Springs State Park/Facebook

With temperatures in Central Florida hitting the low 30s Tuesday, most of us are staying in. Manatees, however, are out to play.

While the weather is cooling down, the water at Blue Spring State Park keeps a consistent temperature of about 72 degrees, according to Save the Manatee Club. This makes it the perfect environment for manatees, who need an environment at least as warm as 68 degrees to survive, to travel to from the cooler, surrounding waterways.

On Tuesday, Blue Spring State Park — located in Orange City — counted 16 manatees, a significant increase from the five counted on Nov. 27.

For those who would like to watch the manatees from the warmth of their home, check out the live underwater and above-water webcams at Blue Spring State Park and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

The high visibility of manatees in Blue Spring State Park has produced one of the longest-running manatee genealogy records in Florida, according to Save the Manatee Club. It has also become a popular site for rehabilitated manatees to be released.

So far, 2020 has not been a good year for manatees, though. The Florida Wildlife Commission has reported 510 manatee deaths in Florida this year, up from the 457 reported for the same period in 2019. This increase could be due to more boat traffic as people searched for safe ways to spend their time amid the pandemic, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Save the Manatee Club also warns of the importance of water conservation, saying that water withdraws for development and human use threaten the important manatee habitat.

On this Giving Tuesday, consider donating or helping the club keep doing its research in order to help save Florida’s manatees.

This story first appeared on our sister paper's site, Creative Loafing Tampa.

Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.