Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day with a temperature right around 70 degrees. Adam and I packed a huge picnic lunch and took my nephews to Blue Springs State Park.
When I was a kid, my summer camp used to take us to Blue Springs at least twice a summer to swim and tube in the 72 degree water. I remember never being a fan of the soft sand that you had to stand on and the huge fish that swam right by. I did love tubing from the spring end to the swimming part, as long as none of the boys flipped my tube. (I’ve always been petrified of alligators).
I remember manatees as endangered species and constantly being in the news due to boating incidents. Now, it seems that more manatees are killed due to the cold waters and not making it down to the warm Florida waters quick enough.
Yesterday, the park ranger said that there were somewhere between 60 and 80 manatees and really that the season hasn’t even officially started. I don’t remember seeing nearly this many when I came as a kid. The population is growing and there were definitely more babies swimming with their mommy’s yesterday.
The boys had never seen a manatee so they really had fun running up and down the boardwalk pointing them all out.
After our boardwalk trek, we had a huge picnic with pb&j sandwiches, carrots, tomatoes, pineapple, pretzels and goldfish. We decided to then head off to find the canoes.
For $12 an hour and a max of 3 people per canoe, you can go out and explore the St. Johns. Adam took Brayden in his canoe and Bryce and I went in another. Bryce did a great job learning to use his oar and helped us keep our boat out of the reeds. However, we did get stuck in some wind and couldn’t straighten out our canoe for a good 10 minutes. It kept going sideways and I couldn’t stop laughing. Adam and Brayden had to make their way back to us and help us straighten out.
Brayden and Adam also had some great team work going. At one point however, they did end up going a little close to the shore and encountered some low lying branches and ended up with leaves in their faces and had to duck! Bryce and I laughed a lot at that.
We kept our eyes out for wildlife and saw a few birds, but that was about it. I am glad that the boys didn’t look too closely just in case there were visible alligators. I figured that would ruin any chance of them wanting to canoe again.
They did love it and can’t wait to go back. After further research Wekiwa Springs is only $7.50 for canoe rentals.
So, not only did we have a fabulous day of first adventures for the boys, we also got in quite the arm workout on the canoes. I honestly thought I read online that 4 people could go in a canoe, so I just figured Adam would do the paddling and we would all sit back and enjoy. You should have seen my face when I realized I would have to be manning my own canoe with Bryce’s help.
Just an FYI, parking/ entrance fee is $6. The park is open until Sunset and in the winter, there is no swimming or diving allowed because of the manatees.