Out of Town Activities for All Ages

Anna Maria- Even though Anna Maria has extremely fun activities, it’s nice to find enjoyable things to do out of town. With so much surrounding the island you’ll have no problem finding something the whole family will enjoy. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do off the island.

Out of Town Activities

Sarasota

Sarasota is located about 40 minutes south of Anna Maria Island. If you’re looking for a fun mind game, visit Escape Countdown located off of Tamiami Trail. Here you get to pick a themed room such as Jail Break or Mad Hatter and find clues to escape it. The challenge, however, is the 60 minute time limit. You may have up to three clues for free and each added clue takes off two minutes of your time. It’s a lot of fun to do with family and friends and you can have a group of up to eight people. You can reserve a time online or just walk in. Sarasota Lanes is the perfect place to go for anyone who loves bowling, or visit Stardust for a pleasant afternoon rollerskating.

escape countdown is out of town
Break out of jail at Escape Countdown!

Ellenton

Ellenton is about 30 minutes away and is home to Ellenton Premium Outlets and Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. The Premium Outlets offers shops such as Aeropostale, Michael Kors, and Vans. With around 120 different shops, there’s definitely something for everyone. After shopping outside all day, cool off at the ice rink and enjoy one of their two hour long public skates. Wristbands are only $15 and includes rental skates.

Tampa

If you love golfing, Top Golf is the perfect place for you! Located about an hour away from the island, Top Golf is one of the coolest places to go play golf. Imagine dart boards all over the ground, but instead of throwing darts you’re trying to hit the bulls-eye with a golf ball. Also in Tampa is the Adventure Island Water Park. Here you can find tons of cool water slides, a lazy river, and fun pools to play in.

Overall there’s so much to do on and around the island you’re sure to never get bored. Make sure to check these places out at have fun on your vacation!

Best 4 seafood restaurants around Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria- If you’re looking for exceptional seafood, you’re at the right place! With water surrounding almost all of Anna Maria, it’s no doubt our restaurants have access to the best seafood. All within 20 minutes of the island, here are four restaurants that you’re sure to love!

Seafood Restaurants

1. The Ugly Grouper Bar & Grill

Located on the island, The Ugly Grouper is right across the street from our Marina Drive office. They serve delicious food such as grouper sandwiches and mahi fish tacos along with meals for people who don’t care as much for seafood.  Also, all of their fish is fresh off the coast of Anna Maria, so you’re sure to get fresh fish. The Ugly Grouper has a history here on Anna Maria Island, as it was previously The Barefoot Tiki Bar and even before that a gas station! Take a look at the menu here.

The Ugly Grouper seafood restauraunt
Stop in for a bite at the Ugly Grouper! Photo courtesy of www.bradenton.com

2. Derek’s

Found on Manatee Avenue, Derek’s is prided on its ever-changing menu and good food. They serve wild pink shrimp pasta, blackened salmon and much more. Whether you want to have a causal luncheon or a fancy dinner, Derek’s is the perfect place to go. They do accept reservations and are open from 5am-10pm Monday-Saturday.

Derek's seafood
Photo Courtesy of www.dereks-bradenton.com

3. Mar Vista

Mar Vista resides in Longboat Key and is casual place to get great seafood. Some of their best dishes are a Grouper sandwich and Scallops Mar Vista. Another cool aspect of Mar Vista is its history on Longboat Key. It was one of the first structures built by Rufus Jordan in 1912 and has withstood hurricanes and erosion. Still in the original building, Mar Vista is an extremely interesting place to visit that has tasty food!

Mar Vista seafood
Enjoy yummy food along with a historic atmosphere at Mar Vista! Photo from www.tripadvisor.com

4. Starfish Company Market

If you’re wanting to cook your own or buy already cooked seafood Starfish Company is the perfect place to go. Located off Cortez, they sell locally caught seafood such as fish, scallops, and shrimp. Starfish Co. was started in the 1920’s and sits on one of the few remaining working waterfronts. With an absolutely gorgeous view, Starfish Co. is a must visit when vacationing here on Anna Maria.

Seafood at Starfish Company
Come visit Starfish Company for delicious food and a great view!

Experience Anna Maria Island wildlife with AMI Bird Nerd

Anna Maria Island – Bird Watching on Anna Maria Island is a must for visitors! Home to a wide variety of migratory and year round species, the Island is teaming with Birds from small passerines and large waders to the most common and rare. Bird Watchers on Anna Maria Island are never disappointed by their findings.

AMI Bird Nerd is here to assist visitors in choosing places to Bird watch and provide tools to effectively find and learn about local birds and wildlife. AMI Bird Nerd provides Binocular Rentals, Free Informational Mobile Apps and suggested places to find birds.

AMI Bird Nerd is committed to providing Anna Maria Island vacationers the opportunity to learn about and view local wildlife and birds. AMI Bird Nerd intends to fulfill this commitment in several ways. First, by providing Free Mobile Apps featuring local birds, birding tips, the importance of Florida ecosystems like Marsh and Mangrove, and navigation instructions through local nature viewing locations. Secondly, by providing Binocular rentals to visitors so they can experience wildlife up close from a distance and; therefore, helping alleviate the disturbance to species in their habitat. Last, AMI Bird Nerd will contribute 10% of profits to local and international wildlife conservation efforts.

Co-owner Bonnie Ferran elaborates on AMI Bird Nerd. “The challenge for beginning bird watchers is overcoming frustration. Often times, at first, bird identification can be overwhelming making the hobby too difficult to enjoy. Our intention is for AMI Bird Nerd to assist beginners in learning skills to better identify birds while avoiding frustration. Beyond birds, We want to help educate Anna Maria and Manatee County locals and visitors about vital Florida ecosystems and safe wildlife viewing practices”.

 Click HERE for rent your bird watching binoculars today!

AMI-Bird-Nerd-Birdwatching-and-Binocular-Tours-on-Anna-Maria-Island

Robinson Preserve, something for everybody in the month of February

Bradenton – Just over the Manatee bridge leaving Anna Maria Island is one of the areas most popular nature preserves attracting visitors year round. Coming up are two reasons among many to enjoy Robinson Preserve while on vacation.

Robinson Wagon Tour

On Saturday, February 7th from 8-10am, a tour guide while cart you around Robinson Preserve while explaining the preserve’s history, wildlife, flora and fauna. The tour is suitable for all ages and seats are on a first come, first served basis.

Valentine’s Date at Robinson

Start your Valentine’s celebration early on Tuesday, February 10th from 6-8pm  with a master naturalist and two chef’s. Melissa, the master naturalist, and chef’s Brian and Aedan will take you and your partner on a date at Robinson Preserve. You’ll enjoy a sunset from the observation tower where you get learn what really happens iwth the birds and the bees. You’ll also discuss the courting strategies of the preserve’s wildlife. You’ll finish the night up with a delicious desert over a campfire. The night is recommended for ages 16 and up. To reserve call 941-748-4501, ext. 6039.

Directions: Take SR 64 (Manatee Avenue) east from Anna Maria Island to 75th Street West. Turn north on 75th Street West and drive to 17th Avenue Northwest. Turn left and continue to the end of the street. Robinson Preserve is located on the corner of 17th Avenue Northwest and 99th Street West

Address: 1704 99th Street Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209

Phone:(941) 748-4501 ext. 4602

January events at Robinson Preserve

Bradenton – The weather is beautiful and although you don’t need a reason to be outdoors, there is always something in the area that helps you figure out what to do once you get out of the house. Robinson Preserve is hosting a series of free events this week to give you a taste of the beautiful Manatee County sights and sounds.

Robinson Preserve Nature PReserveOn Thursday January 15th from 10am-11am experience a Tai-Chi and Qigong class. Suitable for beginners and experts, it will include an exploration of both styles of martial arts. Reservations are required. Call 941-742-5757 ext. 6.

Enjoy a Master Gardener tour on Sunday January 18th from 9am-11am with Master Gardener Sam Starrett.

The annual Robinson Preserve Race at Couch to 5K takes place on Tuesday January 20th from 5pm-6pm. The walk and run program starts out slow and is good for runners of all experience levels 13 and up. Reservations are required. Call 941-748-4501 ext. 6044.

The Preserve Ambassadors for Robinson Preserve are joining on Wednesday January 21st from 2pm-4pm. They will be hosting a course designed to help volunteers learn more about Manatee County’s preserve system. The first course focuses on Robinson Preserve’s history, habitats and wildlife. All participants will receive a certificate of completion and pin for this course. Reservations are required. Call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039.

 

TreeUmph Adventure Courses

Bradenton – Don’t miss out on trying TREEUMPH Adventure Courses just off the island in Bradenton. Enjoy a day of outdoor play in the trees at Southwest Florida’s only elevated adventure course. Bring the family, get together with friends or grab a group from the office for an adrenaline-pumping activity that has something fun for everyone ages 7 and older.

>>> Ages 7 to 9 challenge themselves on our child only course – about a 1.5 hour experience.
>>> Ages 12 and over experience 5 adventure courses and our giant zip line – typically a 3 to 4 hour excursion!
>>> Ages 9 to 11 experience 3 of the 5 courses and our giant zip line – a 2 to 3 hour tour!

Plan. Play. TreeUmph! Book your reservation, come prepared, then swing into action on wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings, swinging logs, foot bridges, Tarzan ropes, ZIP lines and more. Book your adventure now!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS!


Treeumph adventure courses

Restaurants open for Christmas and New Year 2014

Anna Maria Island – While the holidays may bring everybody together, it doesn’t mean you want to cook for everybody, so Here is our list of Restaurants open Christmas on and around Anna Maria Island. The list shows openings for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Restaurants open Christmas and New Years

Restaurants Open Christmas and New Year 2014christmas new years key

Choose causal or a more fine dining atmosphere while visiting Anna Maria Island during the holidays. Some of the restaurants open can be found on Anna Maria Island, and some are in Longboat Key, Bradenton and St. Armands Circle near Sarasota. From the graph above you’ll notice most places are closed on Christmas Day, so you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time.

Enjoy the holidays on Anna Maria Island!

Robinson Preserve Weekend

Bradenton – This is what’s going on at Robinson Preserve weekend December 20th. Located just off of Anna Maria Island in Bradenton, Robinson Preserve is one of the areas best spots to hike, kayak and enjoy nature.

The Salt Marsh Explorers are going out Saturday December 20th and they would like you to join. From 1pm – 2pm, the Salt Marsh Explorers will be hiking and taking in the local wildlife. They’ll be equipped with their new WCIND-funded backpacks that are stuffed full of tools and activities to get you fully outfitted for the hike. Call 941-748-4501 ext 6039 to register and find out more.

Then on Sunday December 21st from 9am – 11am Master Gardener Sam Starrett will take walkers on a relaxing stroll stroll to see Robinson’s resident plants undergoing a colorful transformation. Call the Master Gardener office for reservations at 941-722-4524.

Take a trip off island to Bradenton, and enjoy a fun weekend outdoors at Robinson Preserve. There is always something to see when you visit the great and wild outdoors public space!

 

Robinson Preserve Weekend
View of Robinson Preserve. Image from the Robinson Preserve Facebook Page.

University Town Center brings much anticipated shopping to the area!

Sarasota – When visiting it won’t take long to realize that dragging yourself away from the sugar-sand beaches of Anna Maria Island for shopping is nearly impossible! However, during times it may get a little rainy, take the day and head over to the BRAND NEW MALL in Sarasota!

The Mall at University Town Center (Mall UTC) just had it’s opening day on October 16, 2014.  The architecture of this mall is unique and attractive.  The glass brick roof keeps the mall light and bright letting the Florida sun shine through – it really compliments the fresh new mall. For us locals, it was very anticipated for the area! This multi-level, 880,000 square foot mall changed shopping for us here in Southwest Florida.

The mall which includes over 100 stores to shop, 12 places to get some food (including casual dining, fine dining and quick eats) as well as a list of upcoming events such as styling from Aveda Salon, Eye Wear Trunk Show, Designer appearance and fashion show at Dillard’s, and more!

Mall UTC  is located at 140 University Town Center Drive in Sarasota, FL 34243, which is only 30-35 minutes from AMI.  Time for some serious shopping fun!

Here is the Mall Directory:

Aerie
Aldo
American Eagle Outfitters
Ann Taylor
Anthropologie
Apple
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
Aveda
Banana Republic
Bath & Body Works
BCBG MAXAZRIA
Bebe
Bose Boston Proper
Brighton Collectibles
Brio Tuscan Grille
Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers Women
Brow Art 23
Caché
Calypso St. Barth
Camicissima Milano
Cellairis
Champs Sports
Chico’s
Claire’s
Clarks
Cold Stone Creamery
Crate & Barrel Sale
Dillard’s
Diventi Bella
Edward Beiner Purveyor of Fine Eyewear
Everything But Water
Express
Express Men
Fast Fix Jewelry Repair
Foot Locker
Forever 21
Gap
Gap Kids
GNC
Godiva Chocolatier
Gymboree
Icing
J.Crew
J.Jill
J.S. Trunk & Co.
Jackie Z Style Co.
Janie & Jack
Johnston & Murphy
Journeys
Kate Spade New York
Kay Jewelers
Kona Grill
L’Occitane
LensCrafters
Lilly Pulitzer
LOFT
Lovesac
Lululemon athletica
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
MAC Cosmetics
Macy’s
Mandarin Express
Mayors / Rolex
Michael Kors
Moleskine
Oil & Vinegar
OndadeMar
Organic Nail Bar
PACSUN
PANDORA
PAPYRUS
PINK
Pottery Barn
Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza
Robert Graham
Saks Fifth Avenue
Seasons 52
SEE Eyewear
Sephora
Smoothie King
Soap Stories
Solstice Sunglasses
Soma Intimates
Sophie’s (inside Saks Fifth Avenue)
Starbucks
Stuart Weitzman
Sunglass Hut
Swarovski
Sweet Doctors
T-Mobile
Teavana
Tesla Motors
The Art of Shaving
The Capital Grille
The Cheesecake Factory
The Walking Company
Things Remembered
Tina Stephens
Tommy Bahama
Tumi
Venus Med Spa
Vera Bradley
Victoria’s Secret
White House | Black Market
Williams-Sonoma
Yankee Candle Co.
Vince Camuto
Z Gallerie
Zales

Coming Soon!

4D Gelateria, Arhaus Furniture, Banana Moon Swimwear, Burger & Beer Joint, Charlotte Russe, Fit2Run, Footgear, Forever Flawless, Forever Nails & Spa, Francesca’s Collections, Free People, Great American Cookies, H&M, Invicta, Kiehl’s, Lucky Brand Jeans, Motherhood Maternity, Naracamicie, Natural Comfort Footwear, Talbots, Tricho Salon, Camuto and YO! Sushi.

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Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants Open

Anna Maria Island – Visiting during Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014, but don’t feel like cooking a big meal? Here is the list of restaurants that will be open so you can take it easy.

Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants

The list below is mostly Anna Maria Island restaurants, but Longboat Key, Bradenton, Sarasota and Saint Armands Circle as well. You’ll find a great selection of places to dine with both fine dining and casual options.

Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants, what’s open

It’s a good idea to make reservations at the restaurant of your choice to ensure you have a place to gather.

Have a happy holiday, and enjoy a tropical Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island!