Every winter, on especially cold nights, hundreds of manatees converge in one small canal in Satellite Beach, adjacent to the DeSoto Park. The canal is just several feet deep, so the manatees are clearly visible as they sleep, yawn, stretch, snorkle, lumber over and under each other, and, on occasion, eat the plants by the side of the canal.
The area is fenced off for the safety and protection of the beloved manatees, but visitors are still mere yards from them, and many come with chairs to sit and enjoy the wild manatees and their activities.
Scientists from the Florida Institute of Technology carefully track the population of the endangered manatees, so don’t be surprised if they show up up to count and identify the manatees in the canal. Many they identify specificaly, usually based on characteristics like propeller scars and the like.
It can get dangerous for the manatees : if it gets too cold, they can freeze and die (they actually travel to the cove to stay warm on cold nights), and they have in the past gotten stuck in the canal and in storm drains, so it’s important for any viewers to keep their eyes out for distress, in order to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service if need be.
But mostly, the manatees are there for anyone to watch and enjoy, with free (and super close) parking, and a great, accessible viewing area. I do suggest you bring a chair, though, if you intend to stay for a long time.