Wildlife Inc. – Animal Rescue on Anna Maria Island

 

 

Wildlife Inc. Education & Rehabilitation Center on Anna Maria Island has been rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals in Manatee and Sarasota County since they opened back in 1988. This animal rescue would not be around if it wasn’t for the tireless dedication of Gail and Ed Straight. This is a non-profit, volunteer run organization for the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife in Bradenton Beach.

 

Wildlife Inc. Education & Rehabilitation Center is the largest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in all of Manatee County! Now that’s impressive!

Since 1988 they have cared for thousands of animals every year. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. They also supply medicine, food, and surgeries for injured or orphaned animals until they can be released to the wild.

 

Wildlife Inc. Education & Rehabilitation Center also has a unique agreement with Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton. Through this agreement, they are able to keep several animals at Mixon’s as a part of educating the public on their tour. So next time you visit Mixon’s Fruit Farm, take time to take the tour as well!

 

Click here to find out what to do if you come across injured or orphaned wildlife while on or near Anna Maria Island, FL. 

Wildlife Inc
Phone:
 (941) 778-6324
PO Box:
1449, Anna Maria, FL 34216
Mixon Fruit Farms Address: 2525 27th St E, Bradenton, FL 34208

 

The Annual DeSoto Grand Parade

 

Parades are a big thing on Anna Maria Island. It seems that every holiday there is a coordinating parade that takes place. People will line up off the road and wait for the floats to come by. It’s truly always a fun time, no matter what occasion the parade is for.

 

However, there is an extremely impressive (and massive) parade that takes place in Bradenton every year since 1939. The DeSoto Grand Parade is a huge event, and in recent years, it has brought in a crowd of over 200,000 spectators. To give a little background, In the early 1500’s, Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto, and his army of soldiers walked the grounds of Bradenton, making local and national history.

 

The parade travels 2.4 miles in a 3 hour time span with over 150 illuminated floats/entries. The parade starts at Manatee High School, and then travels to Manatee Avenue where it continues until it reaches Downtown Bradenton.

 

The event takes place on a Saturday, typically in the month of April. You’ll know the parade is going to start soon once you see lawn chairs out on the side of Manatee Avenue. This brings me to another important aspect of the DeSoto Parade, GET THERE EARLY! Walking to the parade is the best to avoid traffic. So if you have a friend or family member that lives close to the parade route, I’d ask to park at their place. Remember, Manatee Avenue will be closed starting around 5PM from 44th Street West, to U.S. 41.

 

So bring the kids, wear comfortable clothing, and collect some beads and other goodies at the annual DeSoto Grand Parade in Bradenton!

 

Parade Route

Click Here to View Larger Map Photo

The Tranquil Trails of Robinson Preserve

View from the Observation Tower

Located in North West Bradenton, FL, you will find the tranquil trails of Robinson Preserve. With over 682 acres of mangroves, marsh, and coastal wetland habitats, this place will turn your morning jog into a relaxing adventure through nature.

 

Along with the trails, Robinson Preserve also has kayak launches, restrooms, and picnic areas. There is also an incredible observation tower, where you can look out on to gorgeous views of the preserve, Tampa Bay, and the Skyway Bridge in the distance.

 

The NEST

In early 2018, Robinson opened their new expansion to the preserve, called the “NEST”. The NEST is short for the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology. The new space is a beautiful, multi-purpose building that is home to a ton of hands-on interpretive programming for all ages. You can even rent out the NEST for your own private event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robinson’s Preserve has a variety of activities to indulge in while you’re there, including:
. Hiking/walking the nature trails. You can always bring your four-legged, furry friend along with you (as long as their on a leash)
. Kayaking/Canoeing through the numerous trails through the mangroves (this activity I highly suggest, it is simply a wonderful experience)
. Biking
. Rollerblading
. Long boarding
. Managed fishing
. Bird Watching
. Wildlife viewing areas
. Group Camping (by reservation only)

 

Accessibility to the trails isn’t an issue. The trail that begins at the entrance is paved, and travels the entire preserve. However, most of the other trails are packed shell.

 

So take the trip out to Robinson’s Preserve, get outdoors, and enjoy nature!

Address: 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
Hours: Open daily, THOUGH HOURS vary by season
Phone: (941) 742-5923

 

Local Fishing Charters for Anna Maria Island

Gone Fishin’

Ready for a trip out on the waters off of Anna Maria Island? Because I know I am.

This list of local fishing charters should help you get an idea of how many options there are to choose from, and which one suits what you’re looking for in a fishing trip:

 

Southernaire Fishing Charters
Captain: Danny Stasny 
Phone:
 (941) 744-7413
Email: southernairefishingcharters@gmail.com
Specializes in: Live-bait backwater and near shore fishing
Boat Type: 23 foot C-Hawk Tower Boat powered by a quiet 200 hp Yamaha 4 stroke motor

Captain Matt Fishing Charters

 

Captain Matt Fishing Charters 
Captain:
Matt Ercoli
Phone:
 (941) 447-9888
Email: captainmatt@captainmatt.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing, offshore fishing, tarpon fishing, and Tampa Bay fly fishing
Boat Type: 
24ft. custom Sheaffer with new 225 Suzuki four stoke

 

Anna Maria Charters
Captain:
David White
Phone: 
 941-725-1860
Specializes in: Inshore spinning & fly fishing, tarpon trips on spinning gear or fly, inshore & nearshore fishing, and offshore fishing.
Types of Boats: 
 18′ BVT  (Beavertail Skiff), powered by 115hp Mercury 4 stroke. Used for shallow water applications inshore and fly fishing.
. 23’ AQUASPORT powered by 225 hp Yamaha Outboard. Used for inshore and near-shore fishing.
24′ ROBIN powered by 300hp 4 stroke. Used for near shore water applications and used up to 9 miles offshore (popular for tarpon fishing).
 30’ Cobia. Used for offshore fishing.

 

Back Country Sport Fishing

Back Country Sport Fishing
Captain: Todd Romine
Phone: (941) 920-5049
Email: Capttoddrom@aol.com

 

Captain Logan Bystrom
Phone: 941-713-1265
Email: loganbystrom@aol.com
Boat Type: 25′ Dorado Fishing Boat

 

Captain Josh Fishing Charters
Captain: John Peurifoy
Phone: (941) 447-6345
Email: captainjoshcharters@gmail.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing, offshore fishing, fly fishing, and fun runs

 

AMI Charters

AMI Charters
Captain: Scott
Phone:  (941) 348-2035
Email: scott@amicharters.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing, nearshore fishing, night fly fishing, family tours, sunset cruises, and fun runs

 

Reel Cortez Charters
Phone: 941-538-4290
Email: Reelcortez@gmail.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing, nearshore fishing, and offshore fishing
Boat Type: 32′ Luhrs Open

 

Anna Maria Inshore Fishing
Captain: Kyle Taylor
Phone:  (941) 345-7182
Email: annamariainshorefishing@tampabay.rr.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing
Boat Type: 2016 custom built 24ft T-Craft

 

Grande Tarpon Charters

Grande Tarpon Charters

Captain: Jason Wightman
Phone: (941) 759-3745
Email: Jason@GrandeTarpon.com
Specializes in: Inshore fishing, nearshore fishing, and tarpon fishing
Boat Type: 2310 Action Craft Coastal Bay

 

Cortez Deep Sea Fishing
Captain: Lance Plowman
Phone: (941) 795-6969
Email: info@cortezdeepseafishing.com
Specializes in: Deep sea fishing
Boat: 62’ US Coast Guard Inspected fishing vessel.

 

 

 

 

Theme Parks and Water Parks a Few Hours Away from AMI

The one thing Florida is known best for, besides the gorgeous beaches, is the variety of theme parks and water parks. Whether it be Disney, Universal, or the ones in between, we are sure there’s a park you’ll want to visit on the list below:

Amusement Parks:
Giraffe Feeding at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers 335 acres of African- themed rides, live shows, restaurants, and shops. Best known for their thrilling rides (the park contains a whooping 21,297 feet of roller coaster track), Busch Gardens Tamps Bay also features one of the largest zoos in all of North America, which includes over 12,000 animals. They even have a variety of immersive tours including one in an open air vehicle on the parks Serengeti Plain, where you can hand-feed giraffes. How cool is that?!
Address: 10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 10am – 10pm
Click here for ticket info

 

LEGOLAND: LEGOLAND Florida is a fun amusement park made up of our favorite childhood toy, legos. This theme park/water park has over 50 shows and attractions, including; a lego creation zone, a kid-safe rock climbing area, and so much more! The water park features a wave pool and lazy river. This is the absolute perfect amusement park for the kiddos to create and explore.
Address: 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
Hours: LEGOLAND Theme Park is open every day of the week from 10am – 7pm
LEGOLAND Water Park is open every day of the week from 10:30am – 6pm
Click here for ticket info

 

Seaworld: We did an entire blog on Seaworld, check it out!

 

A Street in Harry Potter World in Universal

Universal Studios: An amusement park where guests get the opportunity to”ride the movies” is what Universal Studios Orlando is all about. This theme park/production studio features tons of attractions and live shows. Lets not forget about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Islands of Adventure, which are two additional theme parks within Universal Studios. Whether your’e soaring through the sky on the E.T Adventure ride, traveling underground on the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride, or exploring the eight different themed islands. There are attractions for everyone at Universal!
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Hours: All three Universal park are open every day of the week at 9am, closing times vary.
Click her for ticket info

 

Disney, Disney, and More Disney: 
Disney, everyone’s heard the name, but if you haven’t visited one of the many Walt Disney World theme parks, you are missing out! There are 4 parks, excluding the 2 water parks, that makes Disney World what it is. Below is information on each of the 4 individual amusement parks.
. Epcot: Epcot is a 300 acre Disney theme park that is split into two sections, Future World and World Showcase. Future world explores science and technology with its attractions. The World Showcase area lets you travel to different countries without stepping out of Florida. I would say Epcot is the ideal theme park for adults, but don’t worry, the kids will enjoy it as well.
Address: 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 9am – 9pm
. Animal Kingdom: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the 4 Disney amusement parks and highlights Walt Disney’s commitment to conservation and nature. The park is home to 250 different kinds of species of animals, with over 1,700 animals all together. Animal Kingdom is the largest animal-themed park on the planet. The park also has tons of different live shows, parades, and of course fun rides.
Address: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830
Hours: Sunday through Tuesday open 9am – 10pm
Wednesday through Saturday open 9am – 10:30pm
. Magic Kingdom: Disney’s Magic Kingdom is my favorite out of the 4. as

Disney Characters Pose in Front of Cinderellas Castle in Disney’s Magic Kingdom

soon as you walk into the park you are overcome with enchantment. From the gorgeous castle, to the lovely sites and sounds of Main Street U.S.A., the park is absolutely charming. Magic Kingdom also offers rides, firework shows, and daily musical parades featuring your favorite Disney characters.
Address: 1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Hours: Monday through Wednesday open 8am – 11pm
Thursday through Sunday open 8am – 10pm
. Hollywood Studios: Formerly known as MGM Studios until 2008Hollywood Studios allows its guests to step behind the scenes of Hollywood, with live action shows, exciting attractions, and backstage tours. Everything in the park almost blends to look like one giant movie set, bringing the Hollywood feeling to central Florida. Just like all the other Disney parks, you’ll also find rides, restaurants, and shops in HollyWoood Studios.
Address: 351 S Studio Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 8am – 10:30pm
Click Here for Ticket Info to ALL Disney parks

Water parks

Typhoon Lagoon: One of the two Disney World water parks, Typhoon Lagoon is a super fun way to soak up the Florida sun. Take a relaxing ride down the lazy river, lay out in the sun on their sandy beach, ride their thrilling water slides, and so much more! While you’re at Typhoon Lagoon you have to take the family on the ride Miss Adventure, a whitewater adventure ride that just happens to be the longest ride in Disney water park history!
Address: 1145 East Buena Vista Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32830
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 10am – 8pm
Click here for ticket info

 

The “Ski Lift” at Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach: The second Disney water park is Blizzard Beach, a park modeled to look like a ski-resort that melted into a water filled utopia. Blizzard Beach is home to Mount Gushmore ,one of the tallest and fastest water slides in the WORLD! Featuring raft rides, water slides, and a one acre wave pool, Blizzard Beach is a fantastic park for some fun in the sun.
Address: 1534 Blizzard Beach Drive, Orlando, FL 32836
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 10am – 8pm
Click here for ticket info

 

Volcano Bay: Universal Orlando’s only water park, Volcano Bay, is a much newer park compared to the others. Taking the place of Universals old water park, Wet N Wild, Volcano Bay Opened in 2017 and is packed with the perfect mix of thrills and tranquility. Experience the different water slides inside Krakatau, the 200ft tall Volcano that’s also the parks main representative. The most interesting part of Volcano Bay would be the fact that they use TapuTapu, a wristband that will hold a guests place in long lines without the need of them standing there. Now that’s convenient!
Address:  6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 9am – 9pm
Click here for ticket info

 

Adventure Island: A little less of a drive compared to the other water parks, Adventure Island is located in Tampa and is 30 acres of watery fun! There are 10 thrilling water slides, a 17,000 square foot wave pool, and plenty of kid friendly attractions as well. There is also dining options so no one in your group goes hungry.
Address: 10001 McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Hours: Open everyday of the week from 9am – 7pm
Click here for ticket info

Kids complete a pool obstacle course at Adventure Island

Bradenton Riverwalk Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Check Out All the Fun That’s Going on Throughout the Year 

Bradenton Blues Festival:
A weekend full of exceptional live blues music, food vendors, and local craft beer is exactly what you’re in store for at the annual Bradenton Blues Festival in Downtown Bradenton. This event sells out FAST, so if you’re going to be in town or on the island during this time of year and want to attend this fun filled festival, purchase your tickets ASAP! This event is produced by the non-profit organization Realize Bradenton, and proceeds will support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music programs for the community.
When: First weekend of December (Friday – Sunday)
Time: Begins 6pm Friday, ends 2pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the festival range from $10 – $100 depending on type of ticket purchased.
For ticket info and pricing please check out the link, http://www.bradentonbluesfestival.org/tickets/.

 

Fourth of July Firework Display:
The Bradenton Riverwalk puts on a Zambelli International fireworks show on the 4th of July ever year (weather permitting). Take a walk down Main Street, maybe grab a drink while you’re there, and then head over to the Riverwalk for a spectacular firework display over the Manatee River.
When: July 4th
Time: The grand firework finale will begin at 9pm

 

Music in the Park:
Picture yourself watching a beautiful sunset over the Manatee River, all while listening to amazing local musicians. That is exactly what the event Music in the Park is all about. This family-friendly occasion also offers snacks and beverages, including local craft beer and wine, for purchase. It is encouraged to bring a picnic basket, blankets and chairs, and even your furry friend (as long as they’re on a leash of course).
When: Begins the second Friday of March, and continues every Friday until the last Friday of April.
Time: 6pm – 8pm

 

Manatee Pride:
Manatee Pride is all about empowering and supporting the local LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) community. The event is put on by volunteers and has been taking place every year since 2014. Manatee Pride features different local vendors, live entertainment, and food and beverages, which includes the “Manatee Pride” beer.
When: Third Saturday of March
Time: 12pm – 5pm

 

Walk for the Poor:
The annual St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor is an event supporting the poor in our community. All proceeds from the Walk for Poor go to helping those in need with food, clothing, and financial help to qualified families and those going through emergencies in their lives. Take a stroll through Riverwalk for a good cause.
When: Typically the third or fourth Saturday of March
Time: 8am – 10am

 

 

 

Local Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss

Below you’ll find information on all of the fun local festivals taking place on and off the island! You’ll end up wanting to take part in every single one.

On Anna Maria Island:

. Heritage Day Festival:
The Heritage Day festival takes place on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City, and is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. If you’re a history fanatic, this event is right up your alley. Ever wondered how to spin wool, make a bonnet, or create a basket out of pine needles? Well you’re in luck! Featured demonstrators will show you how to do all of that. With a children section, collectible sale, and a silent auction, it is sure to be enjoyed by everyone not matter what age they are.
P.S.  Don’t forget to pick up some of the produce, herbs and “Settlers Bread” that will be on sale while you’re there!
Where: 402 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
When: First Saturday of March
Time: Usually 9am – 2pm

 

 

 

. Beach’N Food Truck and Music Festival:
If you’re interested in a food and music festival on a white sandy beach with turquoise waters as your view, then you need to stop by the Beach’N Food Truck and Music Festival on Coquina Beach in the month of April! This all day event is family friendly and entrance is free. There will be a kid zone, car show, live music, adult beverages, and a variety of delicious food trucks.
Where: 2650 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, FL, 34217
When: The past few years dates have varied, though the event is held on a Saturday in the month of April
Time: 10am – 8pm

 

Winterfest:
If you’re free the second weekend of December, head over to Winterfest, a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts Show taking place at City Hall Field in Holmes Beach. This event is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League and features food, drinks, live music, and of course some arts and crafts you can purchase from local artists.
Plus, admission and parking are free!
Where: 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
When: Second weekend of December (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 4:30pm

 

 

. Springfest:
Springfest (just like Winterfest) is a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts that takes  place in Holmes Beach every March. This weekend event features art, activities, food, drinks and live music! Proceeds will benefit the Anna Maria Island Art League which offers scholarships and other art education programs to local students.
Where: City Hall Field  (5901 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217)
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

Bayfest:
We have an entire blog about Bayfest, check it out!

 

Off the Island:

. Bradenton Blues Festival:
A weekend full of exceptional live blues music, food vendors, and local craft beer is exactly what you’re in store for at the annual Bradenton Blues Festival in Downtown Bradenton. This event sells out FAST, so if you’re going to be in town or on the island during this time of year and want to attend this fun filled festival, purchase your tickets ASAP! This event is produced by the non-profit organization Realize Bradenton, and proceeds will support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music programs for the community.
Where: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: First weekend of December (Friday – Sunday)
Time: Begins 6pm Friday, ends 2pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the festival range from $10 – $100 depending on type of ticket purchased.
For ticket info and pricing please check out the link, http://www.bradentonbluesfestival.org/tickets/.

 

. Florida Strawberry Festival:
If you are visiting Anna Maria Island in the Spring then the Florida Strawberry Festival is a great event to visit.  The Florida Strawberry festival takes place in Plant City, Fl and typically lasts 11 days. There are crafts you can purchase, rides to go on, plenty of choices for lunch or dinner and of course every variety of strawberry dessert you can imagine. The Strawberry Festival is definitely worth the drive!
Where: 303 N Lemon St, Plant City, FL 33563
When: Usually begins the first Friday of March, and continues 11 consecutive days.
Time: The gates open daily at 10am, and close at 10pm
Ticket Price(s): Ages 13 and up are $10, ages 6-12 are $5, and ages 5 and under are FREE with paid adult admission.

 

.Cortez Fishing Festival:
We have an entire blog about the Cortez Fishing Festival, check it out!

 

. Chalk Festival:
The International Chalk Festival is four day event that takes place typically in Sarasota Florida, or Venice Florida. Watch the largest gathering of extremely talented, and famous pavement artists create masterpieces from start to finish. Other featured activities include food trucks, beer gardens, live music, and interactive art areas.
Where: After six seasons of taking place in Burns Square in downtown Sarasota, the 2017 and 2018 events have taken place at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds (675 Airport Ave East, Venice, FL 34285).
When: Begins the second Friday of November, and runs until the following Monday.
Time: 8am – 6pm
Ticket Price(S): For the exact price of tickets for each day please visit, https://chalkfestival.org/events/see-you-in-2017.

 

 

. Sarasota Film Festival:
With over 200 movies screened each year (including documentaries, shorts, features, kid-friendly picks, and more), the Sarasota Film Festival is a wonderful event to attend if you’re a cinema enthusiast. Taking place in Sarasota, Florida, this film festival is among the best in the world. It is a 10 day celebration of film that has been going on for over 20 years, and with how popular it is, it is sure to keep going on for another 20.
Where: 332 Cocoanut Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236
When: This event takes place at the end of March/beginning of April, for ten consecutive days. Make sure you look up the event dates for the year you’ll be attending.
Time: Take a look at the film guide for dates and times of the films being shown and activities taking place.
Ticket(s):

 

 

. Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County:
A 2 day event full of spectacular works of art in all different forms is exactly what you’ll find at the Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County! Yet another art event taking place in Downtown Bradenton, this event showcases; ceramics, digital media, drawing, glass, jewelry, leather, acrylic, oil, watercolor, photography, and so much more.
Where: Riverwalk, Downtown Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: Last weekend of February (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm Saturday and 10am – 4pm Sunday

 

. Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival:
If you’ve been needing a new art piece for your home, or enjoy collecting art, you want to visit the Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival. The event is hosted by Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association and features; paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, woodworking, etc.
Where: 33 Gulf Stream, Sarasota, FL  34236
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

 

 

Annual Anna Maria Island Bayfest

 

If you plan to be on or near Anna Maria Island in mid-October, than you’ll definitely want to check out the annual Anna Maria Island Bayfest on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City! This is an extremely entertaining , family friendly festival that will definitely please everyone in your group, no matter their age. The event features; a classic car show, a great lineup of live music, tons of yummy food vendors from popular local restaurants, adult beverages, arts and crafts vendors, a kid zone, and of course plenty of fun.

Bayfest usually takes place the third Saturday of October from about 10am to 9pm, and there is no charge for admission. It’s the longest running  music, crafts and food festival, and continues to be one of the most popular Island events every year. If you don’t already have plans to be here, you should make some!

When: Usually the third Saturday of October
Where: Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL, 34216
Time: 10am to 9pm
Ticket Price: FREE
Parking Info: There are a few options for parking/transportation:
. Take a ride on the free island trolley to Pine Ave.
You can park at Crosspointe Fellowship Church (8605 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) and hop on the free trolley that will be transporting people from the church, to the City Pier at the end of Pine Ave.
. There is some neighborhood street parking but BE CAUTIOUS. Pay attention to the signs that indicate where parking is permitted, make sure all four tires are off the road and sidewalks, and park with the direction of traffic.

Click here for a vendor application

Crowds gather for the Bayfest event in Anna Maria City

Local Halloween Events

Children participating in Trail of Treats pose for a group photo outside our office

Welcome to Halloween on Anna Maria Island! If you’ve never been on or near AMI during the spookiest time of year, you’re in for a treat. There’s a great selection of local family friendly events that everyone is sure to enjoy.

 

Trail of Treats, Anna Maria Island FL:
Between 4pm and 8pm on October 31st, many island businesses on all three island cities participate in the Trail of Treats. This is an event that gives kids ages 0-12 the opportunity to trick or treat safely, and take part in a fun costume contest. Check in for the Trail of Treats costume contest by 3:30pm, at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. This is a super exciting event for the kids and an island favorite every year!
Where: Costume Contest will be held at the AMI Chamber of Commerce (5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217)
When: October 31st
Time:  Costume Contest check in ends at 3:30pm, Trail of Treats will immediately follow until 8pm

 

Hunsader Farm Pumpkin Festival, Bradenton FL:
Probably the most popular event with the locals this time of year is the famous Hunsader Pumpkin Festival on Hunsader Farms in Bradenton. The event has taken place every October for over 25 years and continues to draw in large crowds every time. Usually taking place from 9am – 5pm the last three weekends of October, the pumpkin festival includes activities such as: Craft shows, live music, hayrides, a petting zoo, tons of food, and so much more! Admission is $10, parking is $5, and kids 12 and under are free.
This event is definitely worth the drive from the Island to town!
Where: 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
When: Last three weekends of October (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 9am – 5pm
Tickets: $10 admission (children 12 and under are free), $5 parking fee



Sertoma Pumpkin Patch, Bradenton FL:

If you want to test out your pumpkin carving skills, check out the Sertoma Pumpkin Patch in Bradenton. They have every size of pumpkin and tons of them to pick from. The pumpkin patch proceeds go to local charities and scholarships, and is open Every day of the week!
Where:  Jesse P. Miller School, 4201 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL, 34209
When: Typically begins first Saturday of October until Halloween day
Time: Monday to Friday 2pm – 9pm,  Saturday to Sunday  10am – 9pm

Join in on the fun on Anna Maria Island This Halloween!!

 

Tip: If carving pumpkins is too much of a mess and you don’t enjoy pumpkin guts all over your table, a fun alternative is getting some seashells from Raders Reef on AMI (5508 Marina Dr # B, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) to decorate!

 

Fun Christmas Activities on & off the Island

Santa Clause makes a visit to Anna Maria Island in his sleigh

Christmas always feels a bit magical when it comes around each year. Beautiful, colorful, twinkling lights line homes and businesses on every street, and Christmas music plays from every radio station. Anna Maria Island may not be able to offer a white Christmas with snow angels, but we certainly can offer a fun tropical Christmas that will make all your family and friends up north jealous. The Island goes all out for Christmas time with a fabulous parade, a tree lighting ceremony, and more!

Check out the different events taking place during the holiday below!

 

Privateer’s Christmas Parade:
The Anna Maria Island Privateer’s Parade is a wonderful experience and brings joy to everyone viewing and participating in the event. The parade travels the entire length of the island, beginning at Bay Front Park in Anna Maria, and ending at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. Once the parade is over, the man in red (also known as Santa) will be handing out gifts to the kiddos. Come out to watch or apply to be in the parade itself. If you want to be a part of the Anna Maria Island Privateer’s Parade you can visit this link, http://www.annamariaislandchamber.org/events/privateers-christmas-parade/, and print out a Parade application to send in!
When: The second Saturday of December
Where: Entire length of Island
Time: 10am – 12:30pm

 

 

Holmes Beach Open House & Tree Lighting:
An evening to stroll the downtown Holmes Beach shopping and art district and a festive tree lighting celebration is a great way to get in the holiday spirit if you ask me. The Holmes Beach Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting event starts off the evening with a beautiful tree lighting celebration in the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce parking lot, and then it’s time to explore and shop. Crosspointe Fellowship carolers along with Santa and his slay will truly bring out the Christmas spirit.
Where: Tree Lighting will take place at:  5313 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
When: First Friday of December
Time: 5pm – 9pm, Tree lighting will be at 6pm

 

 

Christmas on Bridge Street:
Yet another awesome family-friendly event on the Island during Christmas time is the annual event Christmas on Bridge Street. With an abundance of free entertainment, it’s sure to be a blast for every age. Live music, face painting, a visit from Santa, and so much more! Did I mention a variety of food, wine, and beer? Because there will also be plenty of that.
You’ll definitely want to take the whole family to enjoy this fun filled day on Bridge Street.
Where:  Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
When: Third Saturday of December
Time: Noon – 10pm

 

 

Winterfest:
If you’re free the second weekend of December, head over to Winterfest, a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts Show taking place at City Hall Field in Holmes Beach. This event is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League and features food, drinks, live music, and of course some arts and crafts you can purchase from local artists.
Plus, admission and parking are free!
Where: 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
When: Second weekend of December (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 4:30pm

 

The AMI Privateers aboard their ship for the Christmas Parade