Anna Maria Island is known for Sea Turtles, white sugar beaches, and plenty of birds. Although these are great reasons to celebrate our fabulous barrier Gulf island there is more wildlife than meets the eye. Raccoons love our large Australian pine trees and plenty of those can be found in any of the three cities on Anna Maria Island.
If you interested in birds then just walking the beach can provide plenty of opportunities to see many varieties of birds. If you are a serious bird watcher then be sure to take a short trip off Anna Maria Island to Robinson Preserve on the West side of Bradenton, FL. A trip to Fort Desoto Park may be in order which is about 45 minutes from Anna Maria Island. More importantly this should not be confused with Desoto National Memorial which is a park just off Anna Maria Island in North West Bradenton and is a great 1-2 hour trip to take a quick hike, see some nature, and take in some history. Well now I did it, if I mention Desoto National Memorial I have to mention Emerson Point which is just across the water in Palmetto sticking out into the Tampa Bay. There are some great spots to sit down and have a great picnic along with some hiking trails to see even more wildlife! Emerson Point is only about 1/2 an hour from Anna Maria Island. Lastly, maybe flowers are a bit more your style and you might even take in some wildlife by visiting Palma Sola Botanical Gardens also just a short drive from Anna Maria Island.
Of course there is plenty of sea life in the Gulf of Mexico. On a rare occasion swimmers can run into jelly fish as well as sting rays. Of course if you run into jelly fish it is suggested that you leave the water. The best way to avoid stingrays is to shuffle your feet when entering the water.
Last week at the beach we saw a few dolphins just 20 feet off the shoreline. Even on the lightly crowded beach of Anna Maria City the sightings created a stir. My wife says she saw a Manatee in the Gulf which we have never seen before. My wife and a fellow Anna Maria Island beach lover got to talking and she told us the story of the past week in the canals they have been feeding Manatee’s water. Around a certain time during the day the Manatees have been coming around and creating quite a ruckus. She then pulls out her hose splashing it into the water and the Manatee comes up to drink the water. Wow! Sounds like a once in a life time experience that I need to try!
Take a look at the photos below for some great wildlife pictures on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Sorry no wild Manatees yet!