Explore the Trails of DeSoto National Memorial Park in Bradenton

Located in North West Bradenton, not far from Robinson Preserve, is DeSoto National Memorial Park. DeSoto Memorial consists of 26 acres of land. 80% of this land is a mangrove swamp, and the remaining land consists of pine flatlands, mixed hardwoods, remnant shell ridges, and deposited dredge material from the Manatee River.

Explore the trails that run through the mangroves, and the beautiful 3,000 Ft. of shoreline. This is a great place to take your dog for a quick walk and a swim!

DeSoto National Memorial Park is named after Conquistador Hernando de Soto. In May of 1539, de Soto and his army made landfall in Tampa Bay. The park commemorates this landing.

Thursday – Sunday the park offers living history demonstrations/programs. There are touch artifacts, European armor that you can try on and touch, and more! Living history season is from December 2nd – April 17th, at 10:00AM, 11:00AM, 1:00PM, & 2:00PM .



Address:
8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, FL 34209

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island – Manatee County

There are many nature parks near Anna Maria Island. Most visitors to Anna Maria Island know about Robinson’s Preserve located just a few minutes to the East of Holmes Beach. It has fabulous nature trails, a sky high tower that overlooks the park as well as the Tampa Bay.  But, all are not aware there are lots of other Parks and Nature Preserves in Manatee county. Additionally, there is even Leffis Key right on the island!

Below is a list of Manatee County nature parks that the Manatee County Natural Resource department overseas.

Take a look and let us know which park you enjoy the most!

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island

Robinson Preserve
1704 99th Street, NW
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open from sunrise to sunset.

De Soto National Memorial – Near Robinson Preserve.
8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, Florida 34209
941-792-0458
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking lot closes at 5PM.

Riverview Pointe Preserve – Adjacent to DeSoto National Memorial.
8250 DeSoto Memorial Highway
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open daily and hours vary on season

Jiggs Landing
6106 63rd Street East
Bradenton, FL 34203
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset

Emerson Point Preserve
5801 17th Street West
Palmetto, Fl 34221
(941) 721-6885
Open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset

Rye Preserve
905 Rye Wilderness Trail
Parrish, FL 34219
(941) 776-0900
Open 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset

Duette Preserve and Headwaters at Duette
2649 Rawls Road
Duette, FL 34251
(941) 776-2295
Open daily, from sunrise to sunset

Leffis Key at Coquina Bay Walk – located at the south end of Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach.
2351 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Anna Maria Island, FL 34217

Neal Preserve
12301 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 742-5923
Open 7 days a week hours vary on season

Perico Preserve
11700 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 737-2254
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

SOS – Ducklings saved thanks to Wildlife, Inc on Anna Maria Island

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.

Wildlife Inc
Wildlife Inc of Anna Maria Island

Contact Information:
Wildlife, Inc
Education & Rehabilitation Center
www.wildlifeinc.org
Phone 941 – 778 6324

Highlands Hammock State Park – the "real" Florida

If you need a break from the beach take a ride to the “real” Florida. The Highlands Hammock State Park is centrally located in the middle of Florida, near Sebring. This park is one of Florida’s first state parks and known for its beautiful old-growth hammock and cypress swamps. A 3.1 mile loop drive gives a first impression. In addition there are nine different nature trails that take visitors through lush, jungle-like foliage. There are habitats like the pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp, marshes, scrub vegetation and lots of wildlife to discover. White-tailed deer, raccoons, bobcats, tortoises, herons, anhingas, ibis and of course alligators are among the animals living in the state park. The most popular hiking trail is the Cypress Swamp Trail that takes you on a 30 minute walk on an elevated boardwalk. The swamp borders a blackwater stream in the lowest elevation and numerous key points include the variety of plants, birds and other wildlife.
A large picnic area, 159 campsites, horse trails, playground, restaurant and the Civilian Conversation Corps Museum are other features of the park.  During my visit I took the tram ride that leaves daily at 1 pm if there are at least 5 passengers present. For $5 this is possibly the best value you can get in any state park. Our park ranger Nick provided us with a wealth of information while touring the remote areas on this 60 minute ride. I guess it is even more interesting as we were very lucky to see all kinds of wildlife including a wild boar. Take a look at the pictures!

Contact Information:
Highlands Hammock State Park
5931 Hammock Road
Sebring, Fl 33872
http://www.stateparks.com/highlands_hammock.html

For other great activities or suggestions for your leisure time please visit our Island Real Estate blog.