Jupiter, FL–The Jupiter Outdoor Center, 1116 Love Street, Jupiter, FL 33477, hosts guided tours of the Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve, where visitors can explore the ecology of the mangrove lined waterways, and search for the magnificent manatees that abound in our waters during this time of year.
“Early sailors and explorers thought that these creatures were mermaids upon first encountering them, but giving our guests a chance to paddle with them up close can really give us all an idea how much rum those early sailors must have been drinking! Although they are majestic animals, they are a far cry from a beautiful swimming goddess of the sea. They are an important part of our local ecology, an endangered species, and a close encounter with a manatee is something not soon forgotten.” – Ryan Sullivan, Director of Operations for the Jupiter Outdoor Center
Did you know? The “sea cow” is a common term for manatees and other dugongs. This name likely comes from the fact that manatees are herbivores (plant-eaters), as are cows, and often graze on sea grasses and other plants found in the shallow warm waters, usually 3 to 7 feet deep. Manatees are found in both salt and fresh water. Along the coast, manatees tend to travel in water that is 10-16 feet deep, and they are rarely seen in areas over 20 feet deep.
Much like their beloved snowbird human counterparts, November through March, manatees are concentrated primarily in Florida. Manatees don’t thrive in very cold water, and being warm blooded mammals, gather near warm water sources such as natural springs and shallow mangrove estuaries. Individual manatees often return to the same wintering areas year after year. In the summer months when warmer waters extend further north, manatees are much more widely distributed and can be found as far west as Alabama and Louisiana and as far north as Virginia and the Carolinas.
You can be an eye witness to this migration by registering for one of the Jupiter Outdoor Center’s daily Mangroves and Manatees Eco Tours that depart right from their private launch beach at 1116 Love Street directly across the inlet from the Jupiter Lighthouse. Upon entering the crystal blue waterways, the only thing separating you from the manatees is your kayak or paddleboard. The Jupiter Outdoor Center guides will take you throughout the mangrove-laden estuaries and aquatic preserves in search of these gentle giants, giving tips and pointers on good paddling technique along the way. The tours are good for all ages, and kids truly light up when they catch a glimpse of a manatee in the wild, so get the whole family involved and go explore! You can contact the Jupiter Outdoor Center at 561-747-0063 or visit www.jupiteroutdoorcenter.com to book your reservation.
About the Jupiter Outdoor Center:
Founded in 1997, the Jupiter Outdoor Center provides quality outdoor adventures and a place to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and embark on guided eco-tours. Located at 1116 Love Street, Jupiter FL 33477, with its beach located directly across the waterway from the Jupiter Lighthouse, the Jupiter Outdoor Center is the perfect spot to launch a kayak, take a Stand Up Paddleboarding Lesson, enjoy a guided tour and even send your kids to adventure camp.