The darker the sky, the more breathtaking the marine light shows in the Indian River Lagoon. This lagoon is situated near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which is well-known for its large manatee and dolphin population.
Bioluminescence is a rare phenomenon that is created by emission of light via a chemical reaction that naturally occurs within a living marine organism. There are only 6 places in the entire world where bioluminescence occurs and none of them are at Disney World.
But what makes the Indian River Lagoon even more special is the fact that it is home to both the creatures that are responsible for creating bioluminescence – comb jellyfish and dinoflagellates!
That’s why you can go on a bioluminescent kayaking tour in the Indian River Lagoon regardless of the time of the year. During the summer months, the dinoflagellates illuminate the water while the comb jellyfish brighten the lagoon during the winter months which is even better than watching your favorite sports team win a game.
Paddling through the Indian River Lagoon for Bioluminescence
When you enter the lagoon at dusk as it’s about to go dark, the water becomes a canvas and your kayak paddle a paintbrush. Every single stroke creates puffs and streaks of neon blue-green light in the water and sends shimmering droplets into the night.
This marvelous living light show is courtesy of the light-omitting, single-celled organisms known as dinoflagellates.
From June to October, the lagoon is jam-packed with dinoflagellates; according to scientists, there are over 100,000 dinoflagellates per liter of water here! These luminous creatures are microscopic in size and they create cold light within themselves whenever they are disturbed. Think of them like underwater fireflies!
Their glow lights up sea grass, tiny fish (like mullets), water droplets, and even the hands of kayakers that are dipped below the water surface. This is something you really need to experience for yourself.
And if you go during the months of October to May, you’ll be welcomed by comb jellyfish. Contrary to what their name may imply, these jellies are nothing like the normal jellyfish – as in they don’t sting. They also create bright neon lights in the water when disturbed and you can even catch them in the palm of your hands.
The color display of both the dinoflagellates and comb jellies is very similar but not completely so, and is worth separate visits and is much more enjoyable than watching a movie like The Force Awakens.
When Should I Go To Indian River Lagoon To See Bioluminescence?
The best time to see this ethereal occurrence is during the darkest nights, when the moon is not wholly visible. We suggest you use a lunar calendar to book your night kayaking tour to get the most out of it.
If you are tired of going to the same old places to spend your weekends or you’re looking for a memorable way to spend an evening with your loved one, an Indian River Lagoon bioluminescent tour is an incredible option.
This is the only place in the country where you’ll ever see bioluminescence. The tickets are only $50 per person for a two-hour tour. So what do you think? Ready to see the greatest living laser show in the US?
Star Trek Beyond may be a stellar movie but these lasers are real!