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!
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:
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
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
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 2008, Hollywood 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
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
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
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. Their mission is supported by an all-volunteer staff. During the course of a week 10-15 volunteers are helping to achieve this goal alongside the two primary operators Ed & Gail Straight.
All funding comes from donations and occasional grants. Springtime is usually the busiest for them, but they are always in need of supplies and funding. The next big fund raiser for Wildlife, Inc is the upcoming 14th Annual Blood Drive on Saturday, June 7 and 8, 2014 at 9 am – 4 pm, Saint Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S Harbor Dr., Holmes Beach. Please visit this link to stay informed about the organization’s activities.
If you find an animal in distress or like to get involved please call the center at 941-778-6324.
Each year the Bishop Animal Shelter holds a Canine Christmas Festival to raise awareness and money for dogs in the Bradenton, Fl area. It is a fabulous time for all with parades, awards, raffles and everything in between.
We can’t forget about Snooty, the oldest Manatee in captivity. Bradenton has a much smaller aquarium however it is a quick trip just of Anna Maria Island. The South Florida Museum has lots to do including a planetarium. Manatee’s are often seen in the canal pool side.
There’s also the Clearwater Marine Hospital (C.M.H.) in Clearwater that holds one of the most unique dolphins ever, Winter. If you haven’t seen the movie Dolphin Tale, Winter is a dolphin that lost her tail in a crab trap accident & is the one & only dolphin with that kind of disability. She now has a prosthetic tail & is living happy & healthy in C.M.H. You can see Winter & all her friends at C.M.H. & some of the other activities. They have a hurricane simulator, some of the actual props & sets that they filmed in the movie, otters, turtles, & so much more. See more at SeeWinter.com
Enjoy your summer & keep in touch with Kid’s Corner!
Mike Sales and other Anna Maria Island organizers are attempting the world’s longest conga line in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island this Saturday. This event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, on the beach behind the Moose Lodge, located at 110 Gulf Drive S., in Bradenton Beach, just north of the Bridge Street.
Festivities will start earlier in the day. The gathering point is Bradenton Beach roundabout at Bridge Street. (Moose Lodge)
11:00am The Moose will be open for beverages and we will have music. Our very talented local artist, Cheeta, will be performing “Live Sand Art”
12:30pm-1pm Begin to line up for Conga
1:00pm-2:00pm CONGA!!! Will include live music by Mike Sales, a video will be shot for a music video. Aerial Photos to be taken.
The proceeds from the event will benefit the Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue founded by Lisa Williams. Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue has started a no kill animal campaign for Manatee County, and locals are starting to get on board, I know I am.
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 Team gave 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.
When we dropped our ducklings off Ed just added them to the approximate 20 others that were already there. This was by the way the only chance to survive for our ducklings. They were only a week old and needed other little guys like them to learn gender appropriate behavior. Once they are about 2 months old they will be released into the wild in Duette in Eastern Manatee County.
Being at the rehabilitation Center for the first time Ed was gracious enough to give us a guided tour. They had 200 animals to take care of at the time. We saw all kinds of birds like owls, pelican, seagull, vulture and a parrot named Houdini. He knows 200 sentences (but not all G-rated….). Other animals like racoons, oppossums and armadillo were also guests of Gail and Ed Straight. We happened to be there at feeding time and volunteers arrived to lend a helping hand. The center relies on those dedicated workers since its doors are open 24/7 and it does not receive any government support. The center is financed by donations, educational programs and a yearly blood drive where your blood donation can earn up to $ 100 for the charity of your choice.