Where is Florida’s Bioluminescence: There are a few good places to find this natural phenomenon around the State of Florida. The Indian River Lagoon is one of them. Two rivers are fed by the lagoon: The Banana River and the Indian River. We paddle on both for our bioluminescent kayaking night tours. We affectionately call this Florida’s “Bio Bay.”
When to go: November starts Comb Jellyfish season! This is a fun, interactive experience, where you can hunt for glowing marine life and hold them in your hands. Comb jellies do not sting – they’re just slimy!
Tours Depart Nightly: Bioluminescent kayaking tours depart nightly throughout the year and are a “must-do” for Florida vacations.
Where we take you: In winter, the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge (at Haulover Canal) is where we find comb jellies (glowing orbs in the water). Our summer kayak launch site at Kelly Park near Port Canaveral is the closest bio tour to Orlando and Cocoa Beach. The Banana River is part of the Indian River Lagoon Eco-system. The glow here is the brightest you will find outside of the Caribbean.
How to book: Simply click on the orange “book now” button on this page, and follow the prompts. For same day bookings, or special options, just give us a call (407-519-8711). We are happy to help you, and often last minute bookings can be arranged.
Duration: 90 minutes
Price: $55 per person
Includes: pfd, guides, fun, kayak and paddle.
Age range: 5+
Weight Limit: 300 lbs for Single Kayak & 600 lbs total for 2-Person Kayak
What You Should Bring: Sunblock, insect repellent, towel and water bottle
Either Haulover Canal or Kelly Park (Please check your email for launch point directions.)
Note: This tour is in tandem kayak only due to restrictions of the number of boats allowed on the water in the areas we kayak.
Bioluminescent jellyfish are really just jellies (NOT jelly fish – they do not sting) These pre-historic sea creatures, called Comb Jellies, have been on the planet for over 500 million years. As the waters of the Indian River Lagoon cool down, the Comb Jellies move in. Comb Jellies protect themselves by giving off a bioluminescent glow. They think it will scare any predators that might come their way… just like cavemen used fire at night to keep animals at bay, the jelly lights up at night when touched. Join us for this evening tour of the magic waters of the Indian River Lagoon. In cooler weather there are more comb jellies – this is so amazing because you can touch them!
May – November is time for bioluminescent Dino! Dinoflagellate plankton are naturally glowing organisms that light up the waters of the Indian River Lagoon as you paddle through the canals and kayak trails of this unique estuary. In the early days of summer the bioluminescent algae begin to show, and by the height of summer it shines and sparkles bright when it is stirred with your kayak paddle, hand, or even the myriad of Mullet fish flying around. As if the lighted warm water was not enough, on these dark summer nights – look up! The sky is filled with it’s own light show of millions of sparkling stars! Because there is no light pollution on the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, the night skies are spectacular. Peak season is July – October. In other months, bioluminescence will be present, but may be more like sparkles than glowing water.
Bioluminescence is a protective mechanism for both the plankton and the jellies. It is meant to deter predators. However, the fish are not easily fooled and one of the highlights of this tour is watching the mullets race through the glowing water causing streaks of blue as they swim past your kayak!
Many kayaking companies in the area get as many people out on the water as possible. They use two person sit on top kayaks, with group size of about 60 people. At BK Adventure Eco Tours, we like keep our groups smaller to give you a more intimate feel with the nature around us. We think this creates a better outdoor experience. Join us for an exploration of the bioluminescent Indian River Lagoon in one of Florida’s most eco-diverse rivers. On very dark nights, the water glows with each stroke of your kayak paddle.
BK Adventure has many guides who are trained biologist who specialize in Florida ecology. They love to answer your questions about marine life, birds and nature. In summer, our tour at Kelly Park (Merritt Island, Florida) is the closest and most convenient kayak launch for Bio Bay tour near Orlando and Cape Canaveral. It is just 5 minutes from Port Canaveral Cruises and 45 minutes from Disney and Universal area.
The Indian River Lagoon is an estuary that is fed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean making it a unique natural habitat. The high salt content in the water here makes it a perfect home for dinoflagellates which create a natural light to protect themselves. This neon light produced by these tiny sea plankton is called bioluminescence. However, they are not the only marine life that create bioluminescence. As mentioned, there are bioluminescent jellies, squid, and plant life in the ocean.
Florida has more endangered or threatened species than any other state. The Indian River is home to 36 rare or endangered wildlife. The West Indian Manatee is one of them. Manatees love this river because of the abundance of seagrass beds.
Other rare wildlife you are likely to see are: Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Loggerhead Turtles, Blue Crabs, Seahorse, Otters, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tri-Colored Heron and Bald Eagles.
BK Adventure does biking eco tours and Bioluminescence tours in Florida near Orlando, Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, Disney Area, and Ocala.
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