Bridge Street Merchants offering Savings Passport

Bradenton Beach – The Bridge Merchants are now offering a savings passport giving discounts on select shopping, dining and lodging benefiting locals, visitors and charity.

With 15 different deals currently available between now and February, the Merchants passport is a great way to shop local with a purpose. The $25 passport gives up to $500 in discounts and is available for purchase at Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, the Bridge Street Bazaar, Anna Maria Community Center, Island Mail and More, and online at

The passport is designed to bring more traffic to participating businesses, and raise funds for The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Scholarship fund and the Moonracer No Kill Animal Shelter. $10 of each $25 passport sold will be donated to charity.

Bridge Street Savings Passport
Bridge Street Savings Passport Participants

Participating businesses include:
Back Alley
Bridge Street Interiors
The Hive
The Uptown Lot
Sea-renity Boutique
Blue Marlin
Bridge Street Bistro
Freckled Fin
BridgeWalk Resort
Island Time Inn
Drift In
Fish Hole Adventure Golf
Paradise Boat Tours
Sea-renity Beach Spa
Segs by the Sea

Purchase a passport today, and save on local shopping with a purpose!

8th Annual Scallop Search

Longboat Key – The 8th annual Scallop Search, put on by Sarasota Bay Watch, will be going on Saturday, August 29th at the Mar Vista Dockside restaurant and pub on Longboat Key.

Started in 2007 the annual scallop search is conducted to asses the scallop population of Sarasota Bay. Scallop populations became near extinct in Sarasota Bay in the early 1960’s due to municipal water waste, dredging, and a loss of habitat. Sarasota Bay Watch has made great efforts to restore Scallop populations by not only conducting the annual scallop search, but also by releasing scallops of various ages back into the environment. So far, Sarasota Bay Watch has released 70 million Scallops in the larvae stage, along with tons of juvenile and adult scallops.

During the Scallop search citizen volunteers search along marked areas of the bay in scuba and snorkeling gear and count the scallops they find. These citizen science efforts give researchers an idea of the health of Sarasota Bay scallop populations.

Scallops are an important part of the bay ecosystem because of their tremendous ability to filter water allowing more sunlight to pass through to seagrass; therefore, contributing to the overall success of habitat. Scallops not only filter water, but are an important source of food to conchs, crabs, fish and rays making them an important link in the food chain.

For additional information check out the Sarasota Bay Watch website or this fabulous youtube video about Sarasota Bay Watch and their Scallop preservation efforts.



Sarasota Bay Watch website

Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper Volume 15 No. 42 August 19, 2015 Outdoors section “Reel Time: 8th Annual Scallop Search”.

All About You – Anna Maria Island Wedding Services

Anna Maria Island – With the endless beauty of powder white sand beaches, clear blue water and a tropical paradise setting; Anna Maria Island is the perfect place for your special destination wedding. Planning your big day can be over whelming, but not when you employ the services of All About You.

Anna Maria Island wedding
Plan your Anna Maria Island Tropical destination wedding!

All About You will assist with every detail of your Anna Maria Island destination wedding offering a multitude of services to make your day stress free, luxurious and wonderful.

From on call concierge to transportation and officiant services, All About You has all your wedding day needs covered. Services include on site salon, spa, massage, acupuncture and special occasion hair and make up from certified specialists. The on call concierge service is a true luxury tending to all your needs whether it be Champagne service, finger foods, or tickets to the game no request is to much for your big day. Getting you and your loved ones to your special day is a snap with All About You’s transportation services. From Airport shuttle service,  guest transportation or just a night out on the town, All About You will get you where you need to be in style.

No matter what your Anna Maria Island destination wedding calls for All About You has got you covered! Visit All About You online or call (844) 941.4111, and plan your destination wedding today.



Anna Maria Island Sustainable Seafood – The Sunray Venus Clam.

Anna Maria Island – All over coastal Florida the Sunray Venus Clam is gaining recognition as a sustainable, and delicious new addition to the state aquaculture market, and Anna Maria Island has hopped on this new trend.

The Sunray Venus Clam has a softer shell than most farmed clams making it a little pricier on the current market. These Clams have a sweet briny conch like taste, and a large tender meaty foot. When frozen fresh Sunray Venus Clams have an almost 100% open rate; much higher than most species. Sunray Venus Clams grow from South Carolina to Florida and get to be about 3 inches long. They have a beautiful shell that turns a pink salmon color when cooked.

Recently Bruce Barber a Professor of Marine Science at Eckerd College has started research on Sunray Venus Clams around Anna Maria Island’s bay side. In July Barber received an $82,000 grant from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer service’s Division of Aquaculture to specifically study the eating and reproductive habits of Sunray Venus Clams. During the year long project, Barber will be studying a natural population of the clams just south of the Anna Maria City Pier to gain information to better inform shell fish fisheries like locals run Bay Shellfish company.

In Florida all submerged coastal land is state owned. Currently only 2,250 of 280,000 acres of this submerged land are leased for aquaculture. With such a great deal of available space there is a lot of potential for growing Sunray Venus Clams that could be a great boon to the Florida shell fish market.

Anna Maria Island restaurateur and partner at Bay Shellfish company Ed Chiles is on the forefront of supplying the Island with this delicious bivalves. Currently the Sunray Venus Clams can be found at all three of Chiles restaurants The Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista Dockside.  Chiles believes Tampa Bay waters to the north of Anna Maria Island are the perfect area to grow Sunray Venus Clams because of water temperature, quality and nutrient content.

Next time you visit Anna Maria Island be sure to support local aquaculture and try out Sunray Venus Clams.

Sunray Venus Clam
Sunray Venus Clam photo Credit:


Tampa Bay Times, “Sunray Venus clams could be Florida’s next big aquaculture crop“, online edition August 22, 2015.

Solo Travel Girl, “Florida Aquaculture: Learning About Sunray Venus Clams in Charlotte Harbor, Venus Sunray Clams



Set Sail to Cortez with the Privateers!

Cortez – The Anna Maria Island Privateers invite you to set sail on their Cortez Pub Crawl Saturday, August 22 starting at 2pm. Get a chance to bar hop via the Privateers beloved pirate ship parade float for a good cause. Meeting at Mexicali Border Cafe on Cortez Road, the ship will continue on to ports of call at RJ Gators, Clancy’s Irish Bar, Cortez Clam Factory, Cortez Kitchen, Swordfish Grill and then back to Mexicali Border Cafe. Tickets cost $40 per person with limited space available. Proceeds will go back to helping kids and the community.

Reserve your spot aboard Skully Wag by calling Dan Hill at 941-812-8318 or Dianne Gritzmacher at 941-705-1325. Guests are encouraged to wear their best swashbuckling attire!

Anna Maria Island Privateers. Photo Credit

Finding Manatees around Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Perhaps one of Florida’s most interesting aquatic mammals, the Manatee has an unusual and fascinating story to tell.

Manatees enjoy life at the Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium in Sarasota, Fl. Picture credit:

The Florida Manatee is a large grayish brown mammal with thick wrinkly skin often covered in algae. They grow to be 10-12 feet in length weighing up to 1,800 pounds, and may live 60 years in the wild. Manatees have a powerful flat tail that propels them through the water. Their front flippers are used to steer them, and occasionally they may use them to crawl along the water bottom or pull themselves partially on land to reach non submerged plant foods. Manatees have small eyes and no outer ear, but this doesn’t stop them from seeing and hearing well.

Manatees are herbivores with a diet consisting of sea grass and freshwater vegetation. Because of their massive intake of sea grass, manatees play an important role in keeping waterways clear of overgrowth. Manatees have specialized molars to aid in chewing the large amounts of food they require to survive. Manatee Molars may wear down, fall out, and are often replaced through out their life.

It is estimated that about 5,000 individuals of the species remain in the wild. Manatees are threatened by boat strikes, pollution, and loss of habitat due to development and increased traffic in Florida waterways.

Manatees prefer water above 68 degrees Fahrenheit and often spend winter in warmer areas such as springs and power plant discharge basins. More commonly Manatees can be found in shallow bays, rivers, estuaries, canals and intercoastal waterways avoiding rougher deep waters like the Gulf of Mexico.

Manatees are typically gentle slow moving creatures, however; when playing and during mating season they may barrel role and thrash in shallow water making a great scene.

Sighting Manatees in the wild can prove to be tricky as their population becomes smaller, but is always a welcome treat. These aquatic relatives of the elephant are majestic and surprisingly graceful in water. When entering the Manatees ecosystem be sure to show a great deal of respect to the animal to ensure future success of the species. When boating or participating in water activities always be sure to follow signs indicating speed limits and the presents of Manatees. When boating wear polarized sunglasses to aid in seeing Manatee grazing in shallow water. Always be sure to keep trash out of water ways and never allow monofilament fishing line to becoming lost in the water.

In addition to finding Manatee in the wild there are a few spots near Anna Maria Island to see Manatees up close in captivity. The South Florida museum, located at 201 10th Street West in downtown Bradenton, has the worlds oldest Manatee in captivity. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, also has a manatee exhibit.

Manatee are not uncommon to the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, and many have been observed in our shallow canals, bays, and have even been spotted in Gulf waters on rare occasion.

A truly unique animal, the Florida Manatee is a precious part of the Florida ecosystem, and a special feature of the amazing Anna Maria Island experience!

Born in 1948, Snooty the Manatee is the oldest Manatee in captivity. Photo Credit:

Looking for an Anna Maria Island vacation rental home situated right in the middle of Manatee territory? Island Real Estate has you covered! Located at 209 North Harbor Drive, “Jackies Cottage” is a vacation destination known for having great Manatee Sightings.




Mango Bango Adventures – Anna Maria Island Boat Tours

Anna Maria Island – Mango Bango Adventures is a new boat tour company based out of Anna Maria Island.

Offering a 4-Hour excursion to Egmont Key daily, Mango Bango Adventures sets sail from Anna Maria Island at 10:00am and return at 2:00pm.

This excursion is fun for all ages and passengers are welcome to bring a snack or drink.  Drinking beer and white wine is permitted on the boat for adults 21 years old and older however, consumption of alcoholic beverages while on the island is prohibited.

Setting sail on a 25 foot 2015 South Bay Pontoon Boat, iwith stylish exterior, high quality interior, entertainment bar and comfortable seating for everyone, the inter-coastal waters of Southwest Florida is a joy for everyone from couples up to six passengers.

Call and book your reservation today at (941) 840-4869 or find out more at

Mango Bango Adventures - Boat Tour Company

Swim safely with the public beach colored flags

Anna Maria Island – While enjoying your vacation and relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island you may notice flags flying from the lifeguard stands at two of our major beaches, Manatee Beach in Holmes Beach and Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. These are color coded flags to warn you about different conditions that you as a beachgoer should be aware of.

Here’s what they mean.

Double Red – No swimming allowed

Red – Swim with extreme caution due to strong currents or rough surf

Yellow – Swim with caution due to strong currents or rough surf

Green – Swimming allowed, calm conditions

Purple – Presence of marine pests such as jellyfish, sharks, stingrays or red tide

Tuesday Turtle Talks on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – The Tuesday Turtle Talks begin this month at the Anna Maria Island Community Center and will continue through the summer at the Annie Silver Community Center in Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Island TurtlesAnna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers will take kids in the Center’s after school program to the beach on May 12 and May 19 at 4 p.m. to search for sea turtle and shorebird nests, with a final activity at the Center on May 26. From June through August, Tuesday Turtle Talks will move to the Annie Silver Community Center on 23rd Street one block off Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach from 10 to 11 a.m.

The talks will replace morning tours of the nesting beach and will include a presentation, handouts and Q&A time. In August, volunteers will demonstrate nest excavations on the beach, Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said.

All summer a new event, Turtles on Bridge Street, will be featured with scavenger hunts to find turtles, free temporary turtle tattoos in Bridge Street businesses and other events.

If you would like to register your child to attend the Anna Maria Island Community Center Tuesday Turtle Talks, call 941-778-1908.



May student at the Artists' Guild Gallery in Holmes Beach

Holmes Beach – During the month of May, the watercolor mirror image titled “Reflections” by Bayshore High School student Erin Kenney will be displayed at the Artists’ Guild Gallery, 5414 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach. Erin is a senior AP art student who plans to work after graduation as a tattoo artist and attend college later. She was selected to be part of Art and Soul in 2013-14 and also Art Slam as well as The River Walk Art Festival. Her art teacher is Claire Hickman.

Pictured left to right, Claire Hickman, Erin Kenney and Guild Education Chairperson Karen Ellsworth
Pictured left to right, Claire Hickman, Erin Kenney and Guild Education Chairperson Karen Ellsworth