By: Andrew Silverstein

Recreation opportunities abound in the Fort Myers and Naples areas abound.  Here, in the warmth of the Florida sun, you can travel to any number of parks and recreational areas to do anything from fishing to jogging, tennis, camping, and so much more.

One area, though, stands out for being a rare opportunity to see some of the most peaceful and beautiful marine mammals in existence; manatees at Manatee Park in Ft. Myers.

They typically appear in the cold, winter months to congregate around the warm water put out by the nearby power plant.  On any given day during this season, you can see upwards of 80 manatees hanging out and reaping the benefits of this warm water.  The water is crystal clear, so viewing and taking pictures of the manatees is no task.

Manatees are endangered species, so seeing them up close and personal like this at Manatee Park is a rare feat.

The park boasts other features as well.  You can rent kayaks and take a journey down the Orange River to see the manatees even closer or opt for their Manatee Eco-Tour which will get you a ride on a guided boat to see the manatees up close in their natural habitat. Kayak rentals run anywhere from $15  to $25 an hour depending on whether you rent a single or double.  The Eco-Tour is $45 per person.

In addition, the park boasts an extensive butterfly garden, picnic shelter rentals, and a large fishing pier over the Orange River.  You must have a saltwater fishing permit to fish off the pier, though.

If this sounds like an awesome time, head out to Manatee Park today for a truly unique recreational experience in Ft. Myers.