Spending a day on our beautiful beaches on Anna Maria Island is usually very relaxing. Not so much recently when my family and I were witnesses to a “dramatic” event! Four ducklings who had obviously lost their mother were waddling along the beach when 2 crows came swooping by and grabbed a duckling each. We immediately jumped into action and caught the remaining two ducklings and brought them home in our beach bag. First we were not quite sure what to do until Melinda Bordes from the Island Real Estate Teamgave us the tip to drop them off at Wildlife, Inc. This is a rehabilitation center on Anna Maria Island for injured or orphaned animals. Gail and Ed Straight run this remarkable non-profit facility right here in Bradenton Beach and are handling between 3000 and 4000 cases annually.
Just a short drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge brings you to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. It is the permanent home of the world’s most comprehensive collection of the renowned Spanish artist’s work. With over 2000 pieces compiled by the private collector A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor Morse over a 45-year period, it is celebrated for its 96 oil paintings. In addition to the 96 oil paintings, the collection includes over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d’art, and an extensive archival library. Periodic rotations of the collection and special exhibitions allow museum goers to view new work on repeat visits.
Magnificent are the 6 oversized masterpieces. Free tours explain the artist’s renderings. The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1969-1970) is one of those paintings that Dalí conceived while in an art supply store in 1968. Another well know painting is the The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory(1952-1954).In this work of 1954, Dalí reinterprets his popular 1931 painting entitled The Persistence of Memory in order.
The priceless collection of Dalí’s work, which is the largest outside his home country of Spain, desperately needs protection from the elements and adequate room for display. The new Dalí will overlook Tampa Bay in the beautiful Florida West Coast city of St. Petersburg, just 20 minutes from Tampa International Airport. With a two-year construction timetable, the new museum should be completed in fall of 2010. Grand Opening celebrations will occur in the winter months of 2011. The new Dalí is designed by internationally acclaimed architect Yann Weymouth of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK). He worked alongside architect I.M. Pei on the renovation of the Louvre in Paris. The museum will be a work of art reflective of Dalí’s unique juxtaposition of classical and fantastic elements. A huge glass structure will flow forth from a “treasure box” housing the artwork, and a giant boulder from Dalí’s homeland will appear to support a corner of the building.
In the meantime the Dali exhibition is still displayed in the current museum.
Salvador Dalí Museum
1000 Third Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4901
General Admission – $17.00
Senior citizens 65+ – $14.50
Teachers with ID/US Police/Military & Fire – $14.50
Students* ages 10+ (18+ with ID) – $12.00
Children ages 5 to 9 – $4.00
Children ages 4 and under – FREE*
Thursdays are $5 (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
For more things to do visit our Anna Maria Island blog.
Information as of 03/10. Please call and verify prices.
Anna Maria Island shows no effect of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The warm temperatures of the Gulf, sunshine and beautiful white beaches invite to a perfect summer getaway.
The latest projection of the NOAA are showing that our area has a very low risk, about 1 – 20 % – of seeing any oil on our shores. Computer models estimate the potential threat to US coastlines until a relief well will successfully stop the flow. [Read more...]
If you need a break from the beach take a ride to the “real” Florida. The Highlands Hammock State Park is centrally located in the middle of Florida, near Sebring. This park is one of Florida’s first state parks and known for its beautiful old-growth hammock and cypress swamps. A 3.1 mile loop drive gives a first impression. In addition there are nine different nature trails that take visitors through lush, jungle-like foliage. There are habitats like the pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp, marshes, scrub vegetation and lots of wildlife to discover. White-tailed deer, raccoons, bobcats, tortoises, herons, anhingas, ibis and of course alligators are among the animals living in the state park. The most popular hiking trail is the Cypress Swamp Trail that takes you on a 30 minute walk on an elevated boardwalk. The swamp borders a blackwater stream in the lowest elevation and numerous key points include the variety of plants, birds and other wildlife.
A large picnic area, 159 campsites, horse trails, playground, restaurant and the Civilian Conversation Corps Museum are other features of the park. During my visit I took the tram ride that leaves daily at 1 pm if there are at least 5 passengers present. For $5 this is possibly the best value you can get in any state park. Our park ranger Nick provided us with a wealth of information while touring the remote areas on this 60 minute ride. I guess it is even more interesting as we were very lucky to see all kinds of wildlife including a wild boar. Take a look at the pictures!
Highlands Hammock State Park
5931 Hammock Road
Sebring, Fl 33872
For other great activities or suggestions for your leisure time please visit our Island Real Estate blog.
For the past several years Anna Maria Island has become a popular choice for a destination wedding and is called “The Beach Wedding Capital of Florida”. Two Island restaurants, the Sandbar and the BeachHouse Restaurant , were 2009 picks for The Knot’s Best of Weddings magazine, a coast-to-coast guide to top wedding-related businesses. New York based, The Knot Web site is recognized as the number one wedding Web site and The Knot magazine, published in more than 40 key cities across the United States, is the most trusted wedding resource for brides to be.
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual Wedding Festival on February 28th 2010 which is a strolling-style, island-wide, fun and informative day. You can visit over 60 wedding professionals in the natural settings of their businesses whose goal it is to make all your wedding dreams come true. There will be a complimentary Trolley and Limo service to each vendor site, morning brunch, live entertainment, fashion shows and a sunset celebration finale. You can even enter to win one of the fabulous prize baskets totaling over $10,000 in prizes.
Tickets are $7 for preregistration or $10 at the door.
For more information and to preregister visit www.amiweddingfestival.com
Find other valuable information to plan an Anna Maria Island Beach wedding by clicking on the following links:
Island Real Estate has a great selection of properties to accommodate your wedding guests. Please visit our vacation rental site for more information.
Information as of January 2010.
When your are visiting the Island with your family sometimes this question comes up: “What is there to do on the Island after the beach?” Now there is an answer.
Located on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is a wonderful 18 hole miniature golf course. The “Fish hole” offers entertainment for the entire family. It goes way beyond traditional miniature golf calling itself adventure golf with waterfalls, lagoons, and treacherous handicaps and with a little local history and fishing education mixed in.
The ice house and water tower, complete with running water are based on actual buildings which once existed in the historic Cortez fishing village and the old wooden bridge represents the original bridge from Cortez to Anna Maria. They are continually gathering historical information about Anna Maria and Cortez to be placed around the beautifully landscaped grounds.
Each of the 18 holes is named after a different fish – the black tip shark, the grouper, the barracuda and the tarpon are some examples. But what makes the 18 holes even more interesting is the degree of difficulty of a particular hole is directly tied to the degree of difficulty in catching the fish the hole is named for. A lesson in fishing and golf rolled into one. At night, The Fish Hole’s park-like setting become even more magical when the “village” twinkles.
A round of golf is $7.50 per person for both adults and kids, and there are $1 off coupons available.
They have clubs for all heights from children to tall adults, and if you need a break, you can rest in one of their colorful rocking chairs. They also have party packages that are great for birthday celebrations and family get togethers.
Try it out and (to use The Fish Hole slogan) “get hooked”!
For more ideas and other great activities on the Island visit our Anna Maria Island Blog.
The Fish Hole
115 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217
Phone (941) 778-3400
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
All information as of January 2010. Please call to verify.
The Banana Cabana is a Caribbean Seafood and Grill Restaurant in Bradenton Beach, the most southern city of Anna Maria Island. Open every night at 4pm you can choose between evening sandwiches, Caribbean night time specials or seafood entrees all served with a Caribbean island flair. All entrees come with your choice of Caribbean rice or fries and vegetables. The special Bahamian Bread will be served on request.
You can listen to live entertainment on Friday and Saturday while dining at the Banana Cabana. By the way, you will be in good company. Actor Denzel Washington enjoyed their Caribbean food while shooting a movie in neighboring Cortez. The Banana Cabana also serves a large selection of Caribbean beer and reasonably priced wine.
Gifts are imported from the Caribbean Islands and are for sale. Also all artwork in the restaurant is for sale. The artwork is made out of 55 gallon steel drums from the Caribbean.
Check the Banana Cabana website for coupons and save a couple of bucks….
Catering Service for parties or weddings available.
Banana Cabana hours:
Weekdays 4:00p.m. – 9:30p.m.
Friday – Saturday 4:00pm – 10:30pm (with live entertainment)
Sundays 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Closed on Tuesday for the month of October
Banana Cabana Caribbean Seafood and Grill
103 Gulf Drive N.
Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Phone (941) 779-1930
All information as of December 2009. Please call restaurant directly to verify times and prices.
Ps.. if you are looking for a vacation rental close to the Banana Cabanna then look no further. Gulf View 101 is just across the street! Click here for more choices of Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals.
If you like fine dining in a casual atmosphere, visit Sharky’s Seagrill in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island where award winning, European-trained Chef Anton and his wife Marie serve up great food and good times at reasonable prices.
Sharky’s features a wide selection of Fresh Florida Seafood, Black Angus Prime Rib, Steaks and Pastas. Specialties include Seafood Gasparilla, Michigan Pork Chop, Key West Grouper and Lobster Tails. Each day Sharky’s Market Fresh Seagrill features five different varieties of fresh fish grilled to perfection. Sharky’s Pasta selections feature authentic Italian flavors in dishes such as Tortellini Gorgonzola, Rigatoni Ala Toscana, Penne Pollo Portabello, Linguini with Mussels and Fettuccine con Fruta di Mare.
Sharky’s has a full bar with Cocktails, Domestic and Imported Beers, and a selection of fine wines. Happy hour prices are in effect from 4 till 7. Sandwiches and appetizers are available at the bar until midnight daily. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, from 4pm to midnight.
Sharky’s also features live entertainment. Check the entertainment page for upcoming entertainment schedule. Friday is usually Karaoke night.