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Day 8 Tour Of Florida With Kids Naples

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best manatee tour naples

Pete and Ashley visited a new CrossFit box this morning. They really enjoy the different workouts and equipment that each Box has and meeting new people. I love hearing about it all when they get back. We get a lot of our travel tips this way too. We normally plan way ahead of time what we are going to do in each area we visit, but this time we decided to go with the flow and see what happens. We have all been on the go for weeks now, so we thought relaxing at Naples Bay Resort sounded like a great plan because this resort lends itself to peacefulness and relaxation. I envisioned coffee on the patio/balcony and a leisurely morning of work from my laptop. 

Pete had other ideas. He knows that seeing animals in their natural habitats is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve played many roles in my life, and aside from my one as part of this family, being a zoo keeper was my favorite. I learned so much and it just instilled a greater love of animals in my heart. So when Pete said he booked us on a Manatee tour I practically squealed. I’m quite civilized in life until you start throwing around words like “manatee, alligator, and dolphin”.  

manatee how to see near naples fl

We drove for about a half hour to Port of Islands Marina where we took a tour with Manatee Sightseeing Eco-Tourism Adventure. 

boat ride

Emmy took the tour very seriously. She studied the flier with all the birds and wildlife listed.


We learned about Mangroves and the role they play… plus that Alligators hang out in them!

manatee boat tour

Our tour guide Andrew, and his son Andrew Jr. were both leading tours and Andrew found a couple Manatees pretty quickly so we headed over to see them. Andrew Sr. had taken us over to see if he could spot some Bald Eagles first after Emmy had asked about them.

manatee tracks

We learned how to spot them with these footprints in the water.

how to see manatees

And then we started to see them rising to the top. They looked like huge brown blobs at this point. All of a sudden a nose appeared! 

manatee nose

These Manatees were a bit shy so we moved on. Captain Andrew makes the Manatees safety and comfort the priority while still trying to give us the best views. Since these guys were not wanting to be seen we decided to go farther down the waterway to see what we could see.



So happy we did because seconds later a mommy and baby dolphin popped up and played with us for a bit!

kids on manatee tour

The girls had so much fun! I took this picture of Ashley right before she said she could see something in the water near us…


And these faces all popped up. There was a mommy and baby manatee on one side and three more manatees on the other side…

up close manatees

Look how close they came to our boat! It was like they wanted to see what was happening up here. Captain had already turned the engine off and these guys just kept circling our boat. It was so amazing and something we will never forget!

learning about manatees

Our hour and a half tour was coming to a close and Captain Andrew gave the girls a very good science and animal husbandry lesson as we drove back. The only thing we didn’t see that we really wanted to was alligators, but we had seen so many other things and this was a manatee tour after all, that we were still on cloud nine from the experience! Captain said that the mornings when the water was lower is the best alligator viewing time so we decided we would look for them another day. 


As we were pulling into our dock, Captain Andrew pointed off the side of the boat and this guy was waiting for us. I still can’t believe it! What a perfect tour! Looking back I was pretty proud of myself for not freaking out too much knowing that there were sharks, alligators and crocodiles in the waters.

5th ave naples fl

Back in Naples we strolled and had dinner on 5th Ave of downtown Naples. The streets here are beautiful!

naples bay resort

The sun didn’t set until after 8 pm so we enjoyed the evening and then relaxed back in our suite at Naples Bay Resort.

Here is our day 8 video:

What is the most exotic wildlife you have seen?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


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