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Aquatic Adventure at River Ventures Allows Tourists to Swim with Manatees

By Courtney Clark

River Ventures is providing Clearwater with water ventures ranging from mild to wild. With activities for all ages, the aquatic adventures include snorkeling with manatees, scalloping, air boat trips, and more. By providing all-inclusive charters and tours, River Ventures is a fun and exciting way to learn about the environment and the animals in it.

River Ventures began with a young girl's incredible memory and the dream that followed. When the owner was a child she was swimming with her family in the beautiful Crystal River. A manatee swam up to them -- massive, gentle, and slow, the creature even brushed up against the girl.

From this day on, she knew she wanted to share the wondrous feeling she had in that moment. Cut to years later, and her education and dedication are helping to preserve the threatened animal and teach others about aquatic ecosystems.

This is how River Ventures' "Swim with Manatees" tours began. Those who visit can sign up to come face-to-face with the gentle giants without a wall of glass in the way. The world-famous experience is all-inclusive: with one set price, guests will learn about manatees and passive interaction, receive snorkeling tips, and are taken to a Coast Guard-certified pontoon.

From there, they are taken to Crystal River to interact with manatees and see a beautiful variety of other wildlife. The adventure is perfect for snorkelers of all ages and skill levels. Other options include a sunset snorkel, semi-private or private tours, and a package that offers snorkeling, tubing, and kayaking for a full family adventure.

Besides the manatee adventures, River Ventures' passion for the Nature Coast also comes across in other activities. Guests can try Air Boat trips, for example. Manager Brandie Wooten explains this type of trip, which is all-inclusive, "is highly recommended for those that like to get off the beaten trek." There are three options: the Spectacular Scenic Safari, the Gulf Ride and Dolphin Quest, and the St. Martins Gran Dolphinismo. Each is unique.

The first is a great introduction to air boating as it takes guests through canals and around islands; the Gulf Ride and Dolphin Quest is the most popular Air Boat tour, showing people backwaters, estuaries, and historic Indian shell mounds as the group searches for dolphins. Finally, St. Martins' trip combines the first two trips and adds a cruise of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge border.

Regardless of what adventure guests choose, River Ventures provides fun and education at every turn. The experiences will create magnificent memories that families can cherish for a lifetime.

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