Walt Disney World Park Guide | Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney World Park Guide

Disney World Park Guide | Theme Parks in the Orlando, FL area!

So you’re in Florida. What are you going to do now? “I’m going to Disney World!” should be the clear response (of course after choosing Island Real Estate for your accommodations!). Visiting Disney World is a great Orlando day trip option for visitors staying on Anna Maria Island.

Located in Lake Buena Vista, FL, Disney World has six theme parks to choose from each with a differing theme.

Walt Disney World Parks

  • Looking to bring your fairy tale dreams to life? Then we suggest the Magic Kingdom Park!  Magic Park is perfect for toddlers.
  • Interested in getting a taste of the world without having to spend a fortune in flights? Check out Epcot!  Epcot is the most sophisticated park and we suggest High School teenagers.
  • Bring the movie magic to life with the Hollywood Studios Park!  Toddlers will work at this park but there are rides toddlers are too small to ride.
  • Get in touch with nature while touring Animal Kingdom. A great zoo as well as Disney theme park.  Only a few rides toddlers cannot ride.
  • Make a splash at either the Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water parks!  Fabulous for the whole family.
  • Or visit Downtown Disney for shopping, entertainment, concerts and clubs!  Definitely adult related however lego land and two theme based restaurants can make this fun for the whole family.

There are many options to choose from if you wish to get the Disney experience. At the time of this posting ticket prices range from $53 to $95 for a single day ticket. There are also better offers for group purchases and multi-day or multi-park options.  Are you a Florida resident?  If so many passes provide discounts for Florida residents.

Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 934-7639

Anna Maria Island Concerts in the Park

Enjoy arts, crafts, local food, and live music from 5pm – 10pm at Anna Maria Island Concerts in the Park on Friday October 26th at the Holmes Beach City Field. Concerts in the park will benefit Camelot Community Care a Manatee County therapeutic foster home for children.  Update:  while there are many events in the Holmes Beach field the Anna Maria Island Concerts in the Park are no longer being held on a regular basis as of 2015.

Evening Entertainment Includes

• DJ/MC Chris Grumely from 5pm – 10pm
• Open Jam Session with local musicians from 5pm – 7pm
• Shotgun Justice 7:30pm – 10pm

Holmes Beach City Field
5801 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach
For more information call: 941-748-2162.

Anna Maria Island Concerts in the Park
Concerts in the Park in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island October 26th 2012 from 5pm-10pm.

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 south island! Sure some other parks are a few more than minutes to the East of Robinson Preserve but everyone likes choices, right?

Below is a list of Manatee County nature parks that the Manatee County Natural Resource department overseas.  A big plus is the County is renovating to new parks just off Anna Maria Island that we can all Walk or Bicycle to!  Opening in late 2012/2013 stay tuned for more information.  Happy Hiking, Roller Blading, Bicycling, or nature viewing!

If you visit one of these parks please provide your comments on what you love about the park! View the map below to get an idea of where Manatee Parks and Preserves are located.

Nature Parks Near Anna Maria Island

Robinson Preserve
1704 99th Street, NW
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

De Soto National Memorial – near Robinson Preserve and north of Riverview Pointe 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 – Only 5 minutes beyond Robinson Preserve
8250 DeSoto Memorial Highway
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Jiggs Landing
6106 63rd Street East
Bradenton, FL 34203
(941) 745-3723
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Emerson Point Preserve
5801 17th Street West
Palmetto, Fl 34221
(941) 721-6885
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Rye Preserve
905 Rye Wilderness Trail
Parrish, FL 34219
(941) 776-0900
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

Duette Preserve and Headwaters at Duette
2649 Rawls Road
Duette, FL 34251
(941) 776-2295
Open 7 days a week and hours vary on season

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

 

New to Open Parks in 2012/2013

Neal Preserve
12301 Manatee Avenue, West
Bradenton, Fl 34209
Currently being renovated.  You could bicycle here from Anna Maria Island!

Perico Preserve
11700 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34209
This is just off Anna Maria Island!  You could bicycle here when it opens!

Find great wildlife viewing at parks close to Anna Maria Island
There are many great places for nature viewing off Anna Maria Island in Manatee County.

G.T. Bray Public Pool and Splash Park minutes from Anna Maria

G.T. Bray Recreation Center is a fantastic place to cool off anytime of the year if you are staying on Anna Maria Island or in Western Bradenton, Fl.  The G.T. Bray Public pool and splash park is large with plenty of facilities for the fitness enthusiast.  GT Bray is just 15 minutes from Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach.  Drive along State Route 64, Manatee Avenue.  See the link below for a map.

G.T. Bray Recreation Center –
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl 34209
(941) 742-5923

Splash Park
Outdoor Splash Park – GT Bray

SWIMMING – AQUATIC PARK
G.T. Bray has a 50 (6) lane Meter Pool, 18 X 18 yard dive pool equipped with a 1 and 3 meter diving board, 12 foot three flume water slide, a 2 foot wading-kiddie pool and a 4,000 square foot Splash water park.  So there is tons of water activities to do for the entire family.  Summer hours are extended as compared to other seasons and the Summer is considered Mid-June to Mid August.  The Pool park is open Monday through Saturday from around 11 AM to 5 PM.  Access to the recreation facility is not free but inexpensive.  As of Summer 2012 the fee ranges from $4.00 to $6.00 depending on age for a daily pass.  The pass provides access to all their facilities for the day.  Gymnasium, fitness center, teen/game room, racquetball and hard tennis courts.  GT Bray offers monthly rates and normally in the Summer offers a quarterly reduce rate.  The rate ranges from $35 to $80 for a month.

Bradenton, Florida Area information and things to do

Activities and Things to do in Bradenton

Bradenton, FL Area Information and Activities

Bradenton, FL

Looking for something to do in the Bradenton area during your Anna Maria Island vacation? We have compiled a list of the Bradenton area attractions for your convenience!

Kick it old school and catch a movie at the Ruskin Drive In Theater from the comfort of your own car!

We have a Chipotle about 20 minutes off Anna Maria Island.  Chipotle is a great Tex Mex restaurant.

Looking to catch up on some recreational bowling? AMF Bowling Center will cater to your needs.

With how pricy catching a movie at the theater can be nowadays, the Desoto Dollar Movie Theater is a great option for those that are budget conscious!

Sit down dining is plentiful off Anna Maria Island just in Bradenton.  We have a Bone Fish, Applebee’s, Outback, as well as several local owned restaurants.

Give the kids some entertainment at Bradenton’s Chuckie Cheeses Restaurant.

Ace’s Bar has Great Live Music and you can find yourself easily dancing the night away.

Bradenton Activities

Palma Sola Botanical Gardens has beautiful views and a relaxing atmosphere. Get in touch with nature!

Beautiful Lakewood Ranch has many sights, shopping, golf and other activities!

Robinson Preserve – Outdoor Park has many hiking, biking and other trails that are great for getting the family together and active!

Ice Cream for Ice Cream at Sweet Berries
 yum!

Ellenton Shopping Mall is a great place to pick up souvenirs for those unfortunate souls that couldn’t travel with you!

Anna Maria Island Pavilion Rentals

The most Northern and generally quietest Pavilion area is located in Anna Maria City and named Anna Maria Bay Front Park. The Anna Maria Island Pavilion rentals include 13 tables which seat 104, 1 double grill, 2 small grills, restroom facilities are nearby. This is a perfect gathering place for a large reunion, inexpensive wedding reception, or a mom’s group gathering spot.

Sarasota bay

Family Fun, Playgrounds and parks on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – There are several family fun activities across the island perfect for keeping the kids entertained. No matter which of the three cities you are visiting on Island, you wont have to travel far to find a play place.

Anna Maria Island has a phenomenal skate park in Holmes Beach for the child that skateboards or roller blades. The bigger kids and teenagers are the perfect age to tear it up at the skate park. Located directly next to the skate park is a nice little playground set for the little ones, and a shuffleboard court for the grown ups. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of Anna Maria Island’s beloved pirate ship parade float Skully wag, often parked just by the skate park.

The most Northern and generally quietest playground is located in Anna Maria City at 310 North Bay Boulevard and named Anna Maria Bay Front Park. This park is gorgeously located directly on the bay side beach, so you can enjoy swimming and playing on the play ground equipment. After visiting Bay Front Park, head over to nearby Rod N Reel pier for lunch!

If you are looking for a playground right on the Gulf of Mexico, look no more. There is a fabulous playground in Holmes Beach at the Manatee Public beach. Manatee public beach offers concessions, volley ball nets, picnic areas, bathroom/changing area and tourist information.

In Bradenton Beach head over to Herb Dolan park located on the corner of Avenue A and 25th Street directly on Anna Maria Sound. This park offers a playground, basketball courts and a large field for baseball. This park is tucked into a Bradenton Beach neighborhood, and is often not crowded.

On the very southern end of the Island find Coquina beach with tons of activities including a fun Pirate ship shaped play ground, paved walking/bike paths, concessions and bathrooms.

Public Beach Holmes Beach
Manatee Public Beach

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.

G. T. Bray Park is a large park in Bradenton, Fl

GT Bray Park
GT Bray Park

G.T. Bray Park located in Bradenton, Fl has something for everyone.  You can walk tree rimmed paths, swing on the swing in one of the three playgrounds, swim and play in the water fountains or take your dog to the very safe enclosed dog park.

If you are looking to have a larger event while visiting Bradenton or Anna Maria Island then G.T. Bray Park could be your perfect ticket.  The Bradenton park has seven pavilions (Picnic Shelters.)  Of course sizes vary.  If you refer to the map below the numbers here correlate to those on the GT Bray park map.  (1)Cedar Hammock (2) Oak Knoll (3) Hickory Hollow (4) Meadow View (5) Woodland Grove (6) Whispering Pine (7) Bright Outlook – located adjacent to the Activity Center.  For information on availability of the picnic pavilions call (941) 742-5974.

The dog park is called happy tails and is a perfect treat for pet visitors to Anna Maria Island.  Happy Tails Canine Park is a fenced in, 3-acre off leash dog park located at the North East corner of G.T. Bray Bradenton park.  Happy Tails is just off 51st Street West. Amenities at the dog park includes one drinking fountain and free waste bags and a enclosed separate area exclusively for small, fragile, or elderly dogs.

GT Bray Dog Park
GT Bray Dog Park

This Bradenton park is a great place to relax or play soccer, softball or football in one of their many open fields.  Tennis and racquetball  courts are available year round.  There is a weight room available for a fee.  Skate and hockey court is also just one of the great amenities the Bradenton park has to offer.  The skate park is located at G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Fl, 34209.

Depending on the time of year you are visiting the beaches of Anna Maria Island, you can find many family friendly events for children all  year long.  The Christmas party is a must see, Santa Claus flies in on a helicopter with Batman to give the children their opportunity to tell him what they want for Christmas and have their photos taken.  The holiday celebration is perfect for families of all ages, face painting, bounce houses, games, crafts, etc.  Easter is when they have the largest Easter egg hunt I have ever seen!  The G.T. Park staff fill and lay out thousands of eggs.  Imagine three baseball outfields covered in plastic Easter

Covered pavilion and Playground
Covered pavilion and Playground

eggs!  These are just a few holiday events that the G.T. Bray park has to offer.

G.T. Bray Park
5502 33rd Avenue Drive West
Bradenton, Florida
(941) 742-5923

G.T. Bray Park Map
G.T. Bray Park Map
G.T. Park Bray Christmas
G.T. Park Bray Christmas

Holmes Beach Skate Park

A very popular spot for kids on Anna Maria Island is the skate park located in Holmes Beach on Marina Drive. Use the North entrance to the Holmes Beach City hall and park behind.

Skateboards and roller blades are welcome at the Holmes Beach Skate Park!

The park is impressive and with rave reviews from our teenage visitors. You can bring your roller blades or skateboards, but no bicycles, and the police station has a camera on the skate park to ensure everyone follows the rules.  The park is one of the Anna Maria Island Trolley stops so it’s easy to take the trolley and enjoy watching your children have fun in the park.

There is a waiver form that needs to be filled out and submitted that can be found at the Holmes Beach web site. There is a minor fee for the registration and remains in effect for one full year. However, the park has great amenities, so it’s well worth it.  The park is open during the day and locked throughout the night.

Holmes Beach Skate Park

5801 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 708-5800

Holmes Beach Skate Park

 

Holmes Beach Skate Park 2