From manatees in the brackish waters of the Halifax River to dolphins gliding through the Atlantic Ocean, the Daytona Beach area offers a diverse array of marine life. It’s one of the top reasons so many visitors make their way to east Central Florida.
There’s the Marine Science Center, located on Lighthouse Drive in Ponce Inlet, which offers a host of family-friendly activities including a stingray touch pool and bird observation tower. Opened in 2002, the science center is more than just a hands-on experience for visitors. It also features a passionate and dedicated staff working towards marine life rehabilitation – caring for thousands of sea turtles, land tortoises, snakes and seabirds over the years. Check out the Turtle Terrace where guests can overlook seven turtle hospital pools.
Speaking of turtles, did you know that sea turtles inhabit all of the world’s oceans except the Arctic and that most species are considered endangered? Each summer nesting season, sea turtles lay over 150,000 pounds of eggs on the beaches along the east coast of Florida. That’s why it’s common to see signs posted asking beachfront residents and businesses to turn their lights off after dusk.
Another endangered species familiar to the Florida waterways is the manatee (also called a sea cow). These docile and curious creatures inhabit the waters of the Halifax River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway in the northern part of Volusia County. Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas is also home to various species of sharks, dolphins and thousands of different kinds of fish – making it one of the most interesting and diverse places for marine life viewing. So grab a snorkel, ready the pontoon boat and head to Central Florida’s waterways.
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