Manatee Tour Testimonials
We took the tour on 24th as booked - we would like to compliment our skipper, Mike (no relation so he tells us). His knowledge of the wildlife including these incredible creatures made the experience for us and, contrary to some accounts of similar 'swim with manatee' tours, we saw that your team consider the welfare of the animals to be paramount.
Thanks for an unforgettable morning, and the food at Crackers wasn't bad either!
- Ron Scales
Captain Mike, I just wanted to say Thank you so much for a wonder tour, and a chance to swim with the manatees at crystal river. My best friend and I took your tour on April 13, 2010 and we had a wonderful time! Our captain, Mike, was excellent as well as informative and knowledgeable about the river system and the manatees. I’ve attached a few pictures for you, I’m not the best photographer but thought I would share. Thank you again, and I’m already planning on coming down from Indiana for a winter tour!
- Rachel Cruz
To see Rachel's photos, click here!
I wanted to drop you a quick thank you note. In late march we were in Crystal River and rented a boat from Crystal lodge dive center to see the Manatees (you may remember as I nearly crashed into you trying to anchor). Once we got out there I realized that my snorkel and mask never made it on to the boat. You were gracious enough to allow me the use of a snorkel and mask so that I could go out with my family. You were a big part of turning what could have been a terrible time into a truly great memory for us. After hanging around the sanctuary for a while we swam through that little stream into the spring where we came upon several manatee. It was really great.
I just wanted to thank you for the kind gesture. I hope that the folks at crystal lodge got the snorkel and mask back to you. If there was a fee for the rental I will be happy to cover it. Just let me know. And if I can ever be of assistance please let me know.
- Regards, Kai M. Joy
As a very special gift for my oldest daughter for her 40th birthday, I signed us both up for the VIP Manatee Tour. It turned out to be a truly unforgettable Mother/Daughter bonding experience for both of us as well. We went out on April 2 with Captain Rick. It was the most incredible experience either one of us have ever had. We can't stop talking about it and looking at all the awesome pictures we took that day with our underwater cameras.
We are from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and have spent many years snorkeling in the ocean and enjoying all the sea life around the coral reefs, but there was something very magical about being in the beautiful, clear springs with those amazing, gentle, GIANT creatures. We could have reached out numerous times and touched several of them, but for us, it really wasn't about touching them. It was about them so graciously tolerating us there with them in their environment. We felt so honored and and humbled by the whole experience. We are still in awe.
We were both also so impressed with the wonderful eco-friendly and manatee-friendly manner in which the tour was conducted. Captain Rick was very professional, incredibly personable and shared with us his deep respect and vast knowledge of the manatees and of the beautiful springs. With great people like Captain Rick encouraging others to respect the manatees and their environment, this wonderful opportunity to "float" with the manatees will still be available for years to come, and that is a WONDERFUL thing!
Thank you for a truly magical, mystical and AMAZING experience. WE WILL BE BACK!
- Kim Simmonds & Christie Carl/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
On Friday, April 30, I was lucky enough to go out on a manatee tour with my son, daughter and another couple with Captain Jan. The trip could not have gone better. She was very informative about the manatee and the conditions under which they live. She gave clear concise instructions on how we should behave around the manatee. She handled the boat expertly and efficiently. She made sure the trip was pleasant and non-stressful on the passengers as well as the manatee.
Swimming with the manatee has been something I have wanted to do for a very long time. The best part of the trip was when I got to swim with a mom and baby. It was a dream come true. I had to e-mail you and let you know what a great job Captain Jan did. She made the tour very enjoyable to say the least.
- A Very Satisfied Customer, Kathleen Budden
Just wanted to tell you what a fantastic trip we had! Got to swim with many of the gentle creatures, even a momma and her baby. Watched some dolphins having lunch in a school of mackerel and lots of beautiful blue water. Captain Rick was top notch and so was the whole operation. Thanks for the great memories!
I just had to write to you to tell you what an amazing time we had during our Swim with the Manatee tour on 2/16/10. Mike B. "Burnsey" was our guide and he was fantastic - very professional and knowledgeable - we can't say enough good things about him. We made the trip down from CT hoping that we would hit nice weather - 45 degrees was a bit colder than we expected, but it did not deter us from meeting some new "friends" along the way. We were so excited to see a Bald Eagle and Dolphins on our trip, as well. My husband, 9 year old daughter and I ventured into the 72 degree water and were amazed by the docile creatures that were both playful and curious. I made a friend that rolled over for me and even followed me back to the boat after our encounter. This was truly an experience of a lifetime and I want to thank you for hiring such an experienced captain to make our trip so memorable. I will recommend your company to anyone that is coming down your way!!!
- The Zmijewski Family - Wallingford CT
To see photos from the Zmijewski Family Tour, click here!
What an awsome trip to end our vacation in Florida. I would like to give Capt Jan and your company 2 thumbs up from Iowa. I will recommend your service to anyone that we know that are coming to the Crystal River area. When we return next year we will be back to see your crew and the most wonderful animal the Manatee. Please let Captain Jan know that the pictures she took with our camera are truly one of a kind. Thankyou Captain Mike!!!!!!!!!!
- Mike and Kim Hora
Just wanted to let you know that we have a FABULOUS time on our manatee tour on Saturday. Jeff was our captain and did an outstanding job of educating and entertaining us!! It is an experience we will never forget and one we hope to repeat in the years to come. Thanks for the memories and please share our comments with Jeff!!
- Karen, Mike and Alayna Lightfield
Our manatee swim with Capt. Jan on Monday was beyond our expectations -- mostly because of Jan. She was a gracious hostess and knowledgeable captain. All six of us enjoyed learning about the river and manatees. And we'll never forget our manatee encounters. Thanks for providing us amazing memories to last a lifetime.
- Gale Workman
WOW!! What can we say? The Manatee swim was AWESOME! One of the best experiences we’ve had in a long while. The boat captain gave an OUTSTANDING briefing before we went out to swim. His name is Mike as well. With his experience, knowledge, and lecture it made our experience worth driving the distance to get there. The wife and I were really grateful to get a chance to swim with the Manatees, not just to see them in their environment, but to actually swim with them. Though we could not go out and touch them, some juveniles came to us. Of course my wife can draw a crowd…animals especially…was awesome to see her happy. Not only did we see and swim with the Manatees, we saw two dolphins in the area from the Gulf and saw another dolphin play and eat a snapper. We could not complain about the price. Very fair and was able to use the coupons at Cracker’s. Their food was pretty good as well. Thanks for the Memory!!
- Kenny & Trish Bean
My Wife and I went out on the VIP tour last Wednesday (8/5/09). It's been my Wife's life long wish to swim with the Manatees. After surviving her bout with breast cancer two years ago, I gave her this trip for her 50th birthday. We were not disappointed! Jan was absolutely WONDERFUL! Professional, caring and motivated to make our tour special. You really have a winner on your hands there. We had an unusually positive encounter. One my Wife will remember for the rest of her life. I would highly recommend Sunshine River Tours to anyone wanting this experience. In addition, the VIP tour was exceptional. Thanks for accommodating us!
- Joel Whitfield
Just wanted to thank-you and our boat Captain Jan for a great time on our trip 7/6/09. Jan was a great tour guide and went out of her way to make sure my 82 year old mother and my nephews had a good time. Jack & I are trying to get a group to come back in December. Thanks again.
- Jean Bregenzer & Jack Harlow
I had a wonderful time. Captain Jan was very personable and deserves a raise :)
I have uploaded an underwater video of my trip to youtube and would like to share the link with you folks. I will definately be returning. Hope you enjoy the video.....
- Rose Sowden
Captain Mike, I wanted to thank you, Riverside resort and Captain Connie for a great trip on January 26th, 2008. We stayed at the resort as recommended on your web site. The staff was very accomodating, the restuarant very good and the one bedroom suite was excellent for our needs. But, by far, the best part of the weekend, was the excursion with the manatees. And the best part of the excursion was the attached picture of 'Nikki kissing cuddles'. As our kids were swimming among these 'gentle giants', one appropriately named Cuddles, siddled up for a chin rub. As she was getting her rub, Cuddles kept edging closer until I was able to capture the picture of a lifetime. A very memorable bonding experience with a wild animal. Thank You again and please forward our appreciation to the resort as well.
- The Stranges
I just returned from Florida after going on both your tours! I was supposed to go on two of the private tours but am glad I overslept and ended up going on the group tour first and then the private tour the next day! They were FANTASTIC!!! Both Captains were wonderful and Captain Jan should even turn hers into a Manatee and Dolphin tour! :) Captain Jody was great as well and I am figuring out how to come again with my daughter. Thank you again for making this a trip to remember!
- Janine Drebin
My name is Grant Baker, and my family and I had the pleasure of visiting the US last year as a 40th Birthday present, we took the advantage of one of you tours. Our guide for the day was Jan Zearley, and I can say that it has changed our family forever, both of the children are manatee mad, and it is for this reason that I am emailing. My daughter will be 12 yrs old at the end of the month and she is elephant and manatee mad, so we could just sponsor a elephant at the local zoo/conservation charity here in the UK, But my wife suggested, was there or is there a sponsorship scheme close to yourself for manatee's, maybe orphaned or injured, we feel that this would be a much better cause. Hoping that you can help.
I wanted to thank you for a fantastic tour. Jodie was the best we all had a great day. It was one of the best experiences of my life and the Manatees are truly awesome. I would definitely recommend your tour to my friends and I would definitely do the tour again when I next visit Florida. Thanks again.
We would just like to say that we had a wonderful trip on the river this past Monday with Jan. She is a terrific guide and we got to try out your new boat. She did an excellent job navigating it. She is a great person and we really enjoyed getting to know her. We stayed at the Homosassa Riverside Resort which is quaint little place. Enjoyed the weekend.
-Joanna and Terry Bowen
I just want to thank you for such a great experience. It was wonderful, I still can't get over it! I have done a lot of interesting things with animals, have 15 of my own various rescued pets living with me, work in seabird rescue in Sarasota, and have "swam with dolphins", but nothing has come close to my experience with the manatees through your company. It was absolutely amazing, you offer everything that you advertise and more, and if I can help you in any way with this endorsement it would be my great pleasure. THANK YOU!!
- Deb from Sarasota
Capt Mike, I wanted to send a quick note thanking you and your company for a wonderful Manatee tour on February 17, 2009. Mike was our tour operator and he took great care in making sure the experience was good for the people on the tour as well as the manatees. It was truly an exceptional experience. Mike made sure everybody understood the rules of engagement with the manatees to respect them in their house. Our general observation was that other tours didn’t take the time to explain to their participants these rules. If the opportunity presents itself in the future, we would certainly like to come back and visit the manatees on your tour. I will most definitely pass your name along to anyone who will be in the area and encourage them to take your manatee tour. Thanks again for making this the highlight of our trip to Florida.
- Stephen and Theresa
Hi Jan! Thank you again for an absolute awesome time Saturday!! We really enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the tour to anyone thinking about it. I've already referred your outfit to neighbors of ours a few houses down. If you ever happen to see a Jeff, Cindy and Jacob Smith... they are our dear friends down the street. Jacob is their son and he's 12 I believe. I believe they're looking to schedule a trip in April during his spring break.At any rate, have a wonderful day Jan... thanks again!!!
- Chris Suchan
I just wanted to send a quick thank you. My friend Christine and I took your manatee tour on Friday, January 9, 2009 with Capt Jan. She did a fantastic job and we had an awesome time spending the day with her. It was more than I expected. I've lived in Florida for over 14 years now and I can't believe I never thought to do this before! I'm hoping to take the tour again sometime. Attached are a few pictures that Jan took for us, if you could pass these on to her it would be appreciated. Again, thank you. Tracy LaRocque Just a quick note to let you know that we all had a wonderful trip to see the manatee yesterday. The manatee were very friendly and many to see. Our captain Mike was just great! Gave us lots of very helpful information and made the trip very interesting. We were all amazed at how warm we were while in the water with the temps only being in the 40's when we got in. Now getting out was a totally different story. It will be an experience that well all will never forget. Thank you so much.
Ron & Tari Ingison, Chuck & Judy Cruez, Dianne
Returned from floating with the Manatees. I am the Aunt Karen Hyland of Sue McKeown. Sue made the arrangements for us to have you,Captain Mike to take us out. My dream for many years was to float with the Manatees. YOU and your fine crew made my dream come true.March 5Th ,Thursday was the day we went out at 6A:M. Thank for making my drean come true. I shall remember this always. I would like to come back next year from Rochester, N.Y. Will be sure to book with you. When you see the other Mike,tell him the redhead sends her many thanks.
- Most sincerely, Karen Hyland
Wanted to thank you for a great trip on Sat April 18th. We were able to interact with a big group of manatees by an island. We will be coming back to see y'all again.
Just a note to let you know we had a great experience today. Capt. Jeff
did an awesome job for us. We look forward to another visit next winter.
Thanks to Capt. Jeff.
Sincerely, Dr. Marty Romanski and family