We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Snorkel with the Manatees”
Review of Bird's Underwater

Bird's Underwater
Ranked #2 of 62 Tours in Crystal River
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Bird's Underwater Dive Center offer manatee snorkel tours, waterfront location, Swimming with the manatees in Crystal River, small group 6 person only tours with meals included, Manatee surface tours, Manatee educational tours, Manatee Awareness Program, Manatee Dives, Manatee Photography underwater, Manatee Photography above the water, Kayak rental, Kayaking with the endangered manatees in Crystal River, Florida, Enclosed Pontoon boats, snacks, Paddle boarding with the manatees, Group manatee tours, School Field Trip Manatee Tours, Handicap access to view or swim with the manatees, Waterfront Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Fl. Manatee swims from Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Kayaks included with nightly vacation rental houses, Kayaking in Homosassa, Fl. Dolphin sightings, early morning manatee tours, Late afternoon Manatee Tours. Scallop Tours, Scallop gear Sales, Scallop education. Scuba diving sales, Scuba Diving Instruction, Snorkel Equipment sales, Cavern Diving, Cavern Diving Instruction, Cave diving instruction, Nitrox instruction, Tri-Mix instruction, re-breather diving instruction. Members of Manatee Eco Tourism Association, Better Business Bureau, and Citrus County Tourism Division. Owned by Bill (Bird) and Diana Oestreich since 1993. Bill "Bird" and Diane Oestreich moved to Crystal River in 1989 and began teaching scuba diving and offering manatee snorkel tours. At that time there were only 3 hotels, one independent shop, and about 100 manatees that came to Citrus County in the winter months. Since then, Manatees have increased to over 1000 manatees in Citrus County alone in the winter, and there is an average population of about 35 manatees that remain in Kings Bay in the summer months. The Manatee Awareness Program was set up by Bird and Diana Oestreich in 1990 with the dive agency NAUI, then PADI, and now SDI offers the same program. They offer quality and personalized manatee tours with experienced and insured boat captains, all of which are at Divemaster level or higher. Manatee Tours average about 3 hours, but they do not have a set time in which they "pull" the customers out of the water in order to run another tour. All tours include drinks and snacks. Private tours include a full meal. Bird's Underwater Dive Center is located on the Kings Bay of Crystal River. You do not have to drive to a separate location to be on the water. Bird's Underwater is located on the dock behind the Dockside Trading Company. We are next to Charlies Fish House restaurant, and walking distance from Crackers restaurant. The Dockside Deli is located in the same parking lot. Main Street or Citrus Avenue is 2 blocks to the south, the Crystal River Mall is 1/4 mile north.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

We loved our excursion with Bird's Underwater. We had a boat with just our family. Our guide and captain were great. The river is a crowded place in March with a lot of people not respecting the manatees. Our guide was very protective of the manatees and would gently correct the people around us. You could see the respect and love (Lindsay) has for them. Bird's is the best. Please respect the manatees and the rules set in place to protect them.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank kdysteglobetrot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diana. O, Owner at Bird's Underwater, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

The video that we show, manatee manners, is very simple and quite visual. People know what they should and should not do. We love people who put the manatees first, so we can all be happy! Glad you were, thanks for letting others know.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
50
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (1,347)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
All reviews
"captain steve"
in 96 reviews
"donuts"
in 67 reviews
"manatee tour"
in 97 reviews
"hot drinks"
in 30 reviews
"a great experience"
in 69 reviews
"three sisters"
in 65 reviews
"early morning"
in 40 reviews
"dive shop"
in 42 reviews
"early tour"
in 20 reviews
"flash drive"
in 13 reviews
"manatee swim"
in 33 reviews
"these guys"
in 25 reviews
"making sure"
in 26 reviews
"wet suits"
in 37 reviews
"snorkel gear"
in 15 reviews
"small group"
in 21 reviews
"bucket list"
in 25 reviews
Filter

116 - 120 of 1,347 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

We knew it was the off season so we weren't expecting to see lots of manatees so we chose to spend the extra money to have a small group experience with Birds Underwater. The breakfast was delicious and Lindsay and Capt Jake were so kind, friendly and knowledgeable about the area. We loved it. We could have stayed for another 3 hours! We only saw one momma and baby up close but we were thrilled with that. If given the chance, we will be back.

We loved that Lindsay and Jake were so respectful of the manatees. When another 3 groups were at a spot, Lindsay did not want to join in and overwhelm the animals, so we looked for another group of manatees to observe. When we were unsuccessful in finding our own pod to observe, we went back to the original spot, asked if we could join in and waited patiently until one group left. We appreciate this respect of the manatees! !!! Yay!! We were in their homes and needed to be respectful of their space.

Thank Ben S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diana. O, Owner at Bird's Underwater, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

You are absolutely right about the fact that we have to respect them. Sometimes we do take turns, the manatees could care less as long as they are not disturbed. Not the best case scenario but it is life in the wild. Hope you can come back, "save the date" when it is a bit colder for better conditions. Early in the season, prior to Christmas, you do not have to book ahead most of the time so you can call for conditions. Thanks

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2018

The staff here haven't read their own website in a while. They didn't know that the private tour is supposed to include a stop at the Fish an Wildlife Manatee exhibition and chat with a ranger. Apparently this no longer exists.

Also the manatee trip description says that you can book free kayak hires from the dive shop if you reserve ahead. They were surprised about this but honored it as we paid for 4 people to do the private $99 tour but were only 3 people.

Despite this we had great time. Captain Glenn and Robbie were wonderful to our 9 year old boy. Helping him in the water and making sure he got up close to a manatee. Robbie even put warm water from the thermos into small drinking bottles of water and poured them down our backs to warm us up.The snacks from the deli were great and they catered for our one vegetarian.

They went out of their way to find a manatee in the off season which was not easy. Not only did they find three but ensured we had them to ourselves for nearly two hours.

We loved the four hours we spent with Glenn and Robbie and would highly recommend the private tour. But the regular tour (which I did as a diver 8 years ago with Bird's) is excellent too.

Thank Poleinahole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diana. O, Owner at Bird's Underwater, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

Thank you for a five star even though there were some issues. Our new website was launched a little over a year ago, previous to Hurricane Irma which completely flooded the waterfront office of the Fish and Wildlife which housed a few interesting things for the public to see. They have not moved back into the building yet, and we forgot to remove this. None of our private tours bothered to take us up on the offer, so we did not give it a thought. Kayak reservations were something new, apparently, improperly written. We do offer free kayaks to people who stay in our vacation rental houses.

Again, thank you for letting everyone know it was "all good"

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

I wasn't sure how good the trip would be, especially considering it was late in the season for manatees. However, everything was fantastic. Leaving 30min earlier than other operators is key. The office staff and boat staff were first rate, safe and fun. We were able to be with the manatees and interact with several curious ones for over 20 minutes before any other boats or kayaks showed up and the show became 'crowded' and the manatees retreated to their sanctuary.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Ben H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diana. O, Owner at Bird's Underwater, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

You just explained to the world why we have the dreaded 6:00 am tours. It usually makes a difference, especially since you came during spring break. Early morning, and weekday tours are the best.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 5 April 2018

Best Dive trip ever. Followed a mom manatee and her calf along the boats and bulkheads of King's Bay then swam into Three Sisters Spring to view about a dozen manatees holding out while the Gulf warms. Conditions were near perfect. Captain and guide were both excellent. Will do this again next year!

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank psczerzenie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diana. O, Owner at Bird's Underwater, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

Conditions were perfect, well then the weather man gets all the credit for this one, but we definitely appreciate you 5 star and comments!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Bird's Underwater also viewed

 

Been to Bird's Underwater? Share your experiences!

Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / PAYBACK
50
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing