Three Sisters Springs

by Colwyn Raum

Three Sisters Springs is an enjoyable way to spend some free time, and I would recommend Three Sisters Springs to people who want to see manatees. Three Sisters Springs is a group of five springs called The Big Sister, The Little Sister, The Pretty Sister, Idiots Delight 1 and Idiots Delight 2. Going to the Three Sisters Springs is an easy way to see manatees in their natural environment. In addition to this activity being fun, it also helps save the manatees through your admission fee.

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At the Three Sisters Springs, you can go on a trolley (departing every 30 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) to the Springs from a visitor center in Crystal River. Passes are $15 per adult and $7.50 for children (5 and under are free). There are portable toilets and wash stations at the spring. Both the trolley and the boardwalk are handicap accessible. The only way to the Springs is via trolley or walking. The trolley also stops at the Heritage Village Shoppes where you can get things like manatee shirts, stuffed animals, and more. If you want to swim or kayak with the manatees, there are a number of tour companies that will take you.  A good choice is Crystal Lodge Dive Center, based out of the Best Western – tickets are $45 and tours start at both 8am and noon.

Manatees are aquatic mammals, and they have hairs all over them but they’re very small. Manatees have whiskers on their noses. Did you know that the hairs on a manatee each have their own personal connection to the brain? Manatees are also called sea cows. Some sailors (a long time ago) thought that manatees were mermaids. Manatees are herbivores, so naturally manatee feeding grounds are where sea grass beds are. The teeth on a manatee wear out easily, but new teeth come in, like a shark.

Manatees are endangered animals, and are killed by boats, pollution, entanglement, the cold, and more. People can stop manatees dying out by picking up litter where they see it and not to speed when boating near manatees, and by wearing polarized sunglasses when boating to see manatees and grass beds better. In 2010, hundreds of manatees died because of an extremely frigid winter.

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In short, manatees are cool, and you should really go see them. We should also help make manatees and other endangered species no longer endangered. Again, Three Sisters Springs is a good place and I would highly recommend it to people who want to see manatees.

If you want to see more about our trip to see the manatees, check out our YouTube video!

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