This year, because we had a cool March, later in the spring was still a perfect time to see the manatees! We’ve been as late as April and as early as October, but haven’t seen any manatees before this trip in early March. Usually, the best time to visit Manatee Park in Fort Myers, Florida is between November-February when the water is cooler, so the manatees come inland to warmer water.
At first, it looked like the manatees were just rocks with their edges out of the water, but then our boys realized they were starting to move. We would watch intently as they would stick their noses out of the water to breath and occasionally flap their long flat tail.
Besides walking the trails and seeing the manatees, there are some animal statues (like the gator posted in our pictures) and a big cement manatee. There are 2 small playgrounds – one for preschoolers and one for elementary ages, and lots of locations (in and out of the shade) to grill if you bring your own charcoal. There is an informational video about 20 minutes long, but our boys have never been that interested in sitting to watch it, and an amphitheater setup where there are a few presentations daily (depending on the season and time) about the animals you’ll see in the park.
If you like canoeing and kayaking, those are available for rent with life jackets or you can bring your own to go through the mangroves and under a few boardwalks to get out to the river.
We usually visit for 1-2 hours. Parking was $2/hour when we last visited and there was no admission fee for the park.