Winter 2020

Posted by Friends of Blue Spring on



Blue Spring State Park is currently open to visitors at limited capacity and social-distancing is encouraged. All water activities are closed between November 15th and March 31st for Manatee Season. We hope everyone is staying safe!



By Cora Berchem

With temperatures cooling down, some of Blue Spring's most famous visitors return - the manatees! Between the months of November and March when ambient waters drop below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, large numbers of manatees visit Blue Spring State Park and take refuge in the protected 72 degree sanctuary. Manatees, unlike other aquatic mammals, do not have blubber to keep them warm and can not tolerate water colder than 68 degrees for prolonged periods of time. Visitors can enjoy the manatees from the boardwalk and they can watch them online via Save the Manatee Club's live above- and underwater webcams at Park staff and Save the Manatee Club performs daily morning counts of the manatees in the spring run, which are posted at the ranger station and online. In addition, they keep an eye out for any sick or injured manatees that may need to be rescued.

We had some exciting news this summer when Save the Manatee Club manatee adoptee "Phyllis" came into the spring run and gave birth to a healthy calf on August 13th, 2020! This is Phyllis' 16th known calf (pictured here). She was the first manatee to give birth to twins at Blue Spring - a rare event!




By Missy Gibbs, Laura Sherman & Joe Pereira

In addition to the always popular canoe, kayak, and tube rentals, Segway tours, and nature tours, Blue Spring Adventures has added more outdoor recreational activities for the public, including bike rentals. The St. Johns River daily narrated boat tours are back for those who love to sightsee on the water. This one-of-a-kind wilderness experience is the perfect opportunity to get up close with the magnificent manatees, alligators, birds, and other wildlife found throughout the St. Johns River.

“The guided boat tours allow guests to learn more about the great wonders found in the St. Johns River while seeing it in-person,” says Chris Lee, general manager at Blue Spring Adventures. “It is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy.” “Riding on a boat, kayaking, canoeing, or doing the Segway Tour with friends and family in Blue Springs State Park gives a whole new perspective of the environment,” says Lee. “The beautiful landscape and exotic wildlife offer a scenic route that helps guests disconnect from the busyness of life.” Step in the updated gift shop and cafés to see what has changed! The Penny Press, which supports the Friends of Blue Spring will soon be moving from the Thursby House into the gift shop for your convenience.

Check out what all Blue Spring Adventures has to offer at: or by calling 833-953-2583 (BLUE)


By Karen Kellerman & Jackie Cheers

Many visitors to Blue Spring State Park may not be aware of the many volunteers who work behind the scenes at our park. In order to thank them, we want to highlight some of the projects and people that help to keep the park beautiful for all of us to enjoy. The most recent project is the Observation Deck Beautification. You will notice that vegetation has been cleaned out and the railing balusters have been replaced with new metal mesh. This allows for better viewing of the spring, especially for our smaller visitors. Our volunteers consist of individuals, groups and the campground hosts/resident volunteers (who camp in the park for free and volunteer 24 hours or more each week during their stay). We want to particularly thank the following volunteers: Kay & Don Hallum (Trail Maintenance), Brienne Terry (Removal of Exotic Plants), Julian Drake and Alex Denner (Park Beautification).


Summer & Fall resident volunteers who helped with the cabins, campground, Ranger Station and general park maintenance like the overlooks, repairing the bathhouse, etc.: Don Shields, Elaine Murszewski, Ann Hanson, Robert & Sonya Childs, Danni & Craig Neathery and Ken & Carol Hoover. In addition, we want to extend a heartfelt Thank You to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their Missionaries come from all over the world and have been volunteering at the park for over 2 years.


By Darrell Thomas 
In an effort to give our visitors a better hiking experience on our trails, we’ve placed 8 rubbing panels on the Pine Island Trail and 4 panels in the Sand Pine Scrub Observation Area. The rubbing panels will give our visitors a more interactive experience while out on the trails. The panels include information on various plants and animals, a related picture for identification purposes and a rubbing art disc. This disc features a textured surface related to the plant or animal. You can transfer the engravement onto a sheet of paper using charcoal, chalk, or crayons while the paper is pressed tightly onto the disc. The featured animals and plants on the panels are the Florida Black Bear, Florida Scrub-jay, Gopher Tortoise, White-tailed Deer, Red Shouldered Hawk, Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake, American Beauty Berry, and the Live Oak. Stop by our Ranger Station (at the entrance) or visit the kiosk on the trails to see where to locate these spectacular panels. You can access the Pine Island Trail from our lower parking lot. The trailhead is located across from the historical Thursby House. The Sand Pine Scrub Observation Area cam be accessed from the Sand Pine Scrub Campground or from the parking lot at our Administration Building. Happy Trails!!!



The Friends of Blue Spring is a non-profit Citizen Support Organization (CSO) dedicated to generate additional support for Blue Spring State Park. The funds we raise can provide additional equipment, buildings, programs and renovations according to the needs of the park. You can find our meeting agendas here.

Joining the Friends helps to ensure Blue Spring State Park remains a fun, interesting, educational, and beautiful place to visit! We have monthly meetings every second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Admin Building at Blue Spring State Park.



Memberships are $15/year for individuals and $25/year for families and include 12 free visits to Blue Spring State Park per year.


Questions? Email us at

The Friends of Blue Spring State Park

2100 W French Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763.

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