Top 11 Bradenton Activities – Visit the Mainland from Anna Maria Island

There are tons of great Bradenton Activities to explore while visiting Anna Maria Island. Just a short drive over the Manatee Bridge, Bradenton is on the mainland of Manatee County. This area has a quaint downtown with both family friendly things to do along with a great night life.

Top 11 Bradenton Activities

When you visit Anna Maria Island it’s totally worth driving inland for Bradenton activities!

Downtown Bradenton Old Main Street

If you want to shop, dine, and unwind then Old Main Street is the perfect spot. This is truly the heart of Bradenton. Here you’ll find boutiques, tons of bars and  restaurants too. Old Main Street offers quaint old architecture reminiscent of a small southern town, and fewer modern structures. It’s really a pleasant place to relax while taking in the scenes and window shopping.

Wander down the street to the Riverfront and you’ll find the Pier and Twin Dolphin Marina. The pier not only offers great views of the Manatee River, but also has a very nice restaurant called Pier 22.

If you are looking for a night spot this is the best place for a bar crawl. You’ll find many different bars, pubs and lounges all along Old Main Street. Each bar is unique and draws a different crowd. Just be sure to drink responsibly!

Riverwalk – Free outdoors entertainment.

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a great place to stroll along the Manatee River and enjoy Florida’s year round perfect weather. This strip of public space offers a splash park, playground, day docks, picnic areas, skate park and butterfly garden. Enjoy sights of the river while relaxing too.

Mixon Fruit Farms

Mixon Fruit Farm is a short drive east of downtown. Here you’ll find many fun family attractions including farm tours, wildlife refuge, and a large gift shop too. Be sure to try a free sample of fresh squeezed orange juice and grab a piece of fudge from the gift shop.

Bradenton, Florida things to do
Mixon Fruit Farms offers many family fun things to do in Bradenton

 

Mckechnie Field

While visiting Anna Maria Island in the Spring, you can catch the Pittsburg Pirates Spring training games at Mckechnie Field. Check out their schedule to see all the different activities happening at this amazing facility.

Village of the Arts

The Village of the Arts is a commercial-residential community on the southern side of the downtown area. Here you’ll find art galleries, specialty shops and restaurants. The first Friday of each month the Village holds an artwalk, however, some of the shops are open Tuesday-Saturday weekly.

Bradenton Activities
Village of the Arts is a fun and vibrant neighborhood filled with art and local culture too.

Manatee Performing Arts Center

The Manatee Performing Arts Center has a long history of producing plays and entertaining Bradentonians since the late 1940’s. First started by the Bradenton Junior Women’s Club, the troupe became known as the Manatee Players. Now with a new large facility and location the thespian tradition continues. Check their calendar to see what is happening!

Red Barn Flea Market

The Red Barn Flea Market is a Bradenton tradition. Here you’ll find the areas best Flea Market with produce, restaurants, and a unique assortment of vendors. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

South Florida Museum

The South Florida Museum offers a great look at prehistoric Florida. From Dinosaurs to early native inhabitants, this museum is an impressive facility. You’ll find Paleontology and Archaeology featured in addition to local history too. See Manatees in their aquarium and also learn about outer space in their planetarium.

Bradenton Activities near Anna Maria Island, Florida
Visit South Florida Museum

Ghost Tours

The Bradenton Ghost Tours are a newer feature to the downtown area. Learn about encounters and documented stories from locals. While taking you through areas with unusual encounters you’ll also learn about Bradenton History. Not only are the tours offered in Bradenton, but you can catch a tour on Anna Maria Island’s Bradenton Beach too.

Manatee Village Historic Park

Learn about Bradenton’s past when you visit Manatee Village Historic Park. Here you’ll find relics from the past including Fogarty Boat Works, The Baldwin Steam Locomotive and the old school house.

Breweries

Visit Bradenton Breweries for a nice local cold one. Motorworks and Darwin’s Brewers are both on the south side of Downtown on 9th Street West. While the local handcrafted beer movement takes off, Bradenton has hopped on the trend.

Things to do near Anna Maria Island
There is always something fun happening at Motorworks Brewery.

During your next visit to Anna Maria Island be sure to head into the Mainland and try these Bradenton Activities!

Bradenton Real Estate

Island Real Estate can help you find your next home on Anna Maria Island or in Bradenton! Give us a call at 877-778-6066 or visit IslandReal.com to see our listings.

 

Bradenton vacation rentals
Aerial View of the Perico Bay Club Vacation Rentals in Bradenton

Top Activities Off Anna Maria Island

Enjoy our list of off Anna Maria Island activities. While lazing on the beach with a cold drink is an amazing way to vacation, visit off island too.

Off Anna Maria Island

Beyond the powder sand and crisp blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico find things to do. There’s a ton of activities to experience on Anna Maria Island. However, if feeling adventurous, here’s a list of 40 activities less than a two hour drive from the island.

Off Anna Maria Island
Relax on Anna Maria Island beaches!

Bradenton

The city of Bradenton is located inland from Anna Maria Island when heading over the Manatee Bridge. Known as the friendly city, Bradenton offers great entertainment in the Downtown Old Main Street area. Find Bishop Planetarium, South Florida Museum, The Players Theater and McKechnie Baseball Field where the Marauders play. Additionally, find things to do at G.T. Bray park,  Manatee County Parks and Mixon Fruit Farm.

Cortez

The city of Cortez is located just over the Cortez Bridge when leaving Anna Maria Island. One of the countries oldest fishing villages, Cortez is a place to explore old Florida charm, shops, and seafood. Be sure to visit Starfish Company restaurant for dockside views, and the best Florida seafood you’ll taste. If you visit in February be sure to check out the annual Cotez Fishing Festival. Find some of the areas most delicious sweets at Tylers Ice Cream. Learn all about the history of Cortez Fishing Village at the Maritime Museum.

Sarasota

A truly beautiful city, Sarasota is about 30 minutes south of Anna Maria Island. You’ll find a large selection of activities in Sarasota. Theaters include Van WezelMcCurdys Improve comedy house and the Sarasota Players. Also enjoy fine art at The Ringling or beautiful Florida Flora and Fauna at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. The internationally known Sarasota Film Festival offers many events annual in April. Also, Siesta key and St. Armands Circle have fabulous shopping, or explore Florida’s aquatic life at Mote Marine Aquarium.

Lakewood Ranch

Heading 45 minutes East into Manatee county brings you to Lakewood Ranch. This area offers an outdoors shopping area along Main Street with a few other activities surrounding. Visit the Lakewood Ranch cinema followed by a great meal at Polo Grill and Bar. Play a round of Golf at the prestigious Legacy Golf Club.

 University Town Center is a great indoor mall with fabulous shopping opportunities not found on Anna Maria Island.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a 45 minute drive north over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Here find a growing art scene with ton’s of galleries, studios, boutiques and entertainment. Check out the Sundial shopping district along with the great waterfront restaurants. Enjoy fine works by artist Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum.

Myakka

Myakka State Park has many activities including boat tours, nature watching and bike trails. The city of Myakka is just a little over an hour drive from Anna Maria Island. It also offers one of the nicest State parks in Florida. While in Myakka support your local farmers with a tour of Dakin Dairy.

Tampa

Tampa offers many fun attractions perfect for a day trip from Anna Maria Island. Just about an hour drive brings you to the famous Florida attraction Busch Gardens. The Car Museum of Tampa is a fun stop for old car enthusiasts.

Orlando

Orlando is a two hour drive from Anna Maria Island, but offers tons of family friendly activities. Check out our list of fun things to do in Orlando below:

Downtown Disney

Blizzard Beach

Typhoon Lagoon

Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Hollywood Studio

Disney’s Epcot

Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World 

Universal Studios

Islands of Adventure

Brandon

Westfield Mall has all the big name retailers you are looking for. Brandon is also only an hour drive east of Anna Maria Island toward the Tampa area.

Ruskin

Ruskin is a quiet small Florida town with a fabulous old Drive in Theater. Just under an hour drive from the Island, Ruskin Drive also provides hours of inexpensive entertainment.

Plant City

If you visit the Island during spring months, you may be lucky to catch the Florida Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Festival has been celebrated since the 1930’s. This 10 day event provides tons of fun too!

 

Finding Manatees Anna Maria Island

Perhaps one of Florida’s most interesting aquatic mammals, Manatees have an unusual and fascinating story to tell. This information page is to help with finding Manatees around Anna Maria Island.

Manatee
Manatees enjoy life at the Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium in Sarasota, Fl. Picture credit: Mote.org

Manatees around Anna Maria Island

The Florida Manatee is a large grayish brown mammal with thick wrinkly skin often covered in algae. They grow to be 10-12 feet in length weighing up to 1,800 pounds, and may live 60 years in the wild. Manatees have a powerful flat tail that propels them through the water. Their front flippers are used to steer them, and occasionally they may use them to crawl along the water bottom or pull themselves partially on land to reach non submerged plant foods. Manatees have small eyes and no outer ear, but this doesn’t stop them from seeing and hearing well.

A Herbivore

Manatees are herbivores with a diet consisting of sea grass and freshwater vegetation. Because of their massive intake of sea grass, manatees play an important role in keeping waterways clear of overgrowth. Manatees have specialized molars to aid in chewing the large amounts of food they require to survive. Manatee Molars may wear down, fall out, and are often replaced through out their life.

It is estimated that about 5,000 individuals of the species remain in the wild. Manatees are threatened by boat strikes, pollution, and loss of habitat due to development and increased traffic in Florida waterways.

Manatees prefer water above 68 degrees Fahrenheit and often spend winter in warmer areas such as springs and power plant discharge basins. More commonly Manatees can be found in shallow bays, rivers, estuaries, canals and intercoastal waterways avoiding rougher deep waters like the Gulf of Mexico.

They are typically gentle slow moving creatures, however; when playing and during mating season they may barrel role and thrash in shallow water making a great scene.

Sighting Manatees in the wild can prove to be tricky as their population becomes smaller, but is always a welcome treat. These aquatic relatives of the elephant are majestic and surprisingly graceful in water. When entering their ecosystem be sure to show a great deal of respect to the animal to ensure future success of the species. When boating or participating in water activities always be sure to follow signs indicating speed limits and the presents of Manatees. Wear polarized sunglasses to aid in seeing Manatee grazing in shallow water. Always be sure to keep trash out of water ways and never allow monofilament fishing line to becoming lost in the water.

Manatees at Mote Marine and South Florida Museum

In addition to finding Manatee in the wild there are a few spots near Anna Maria Island to see Manatees up close in captivity. The South Florida museum, located at 201 10th Street West in downtown Bradenton, has the worlds oldest Manatee in captivity, Snooty. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, also has a manatee exhibit.

Watch out for Manatee when boating

Manatee are not uncommon to the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, and many have been observed in our shallow canals, bays, and have even been spotted in Gulf waters on rare occasion.

If you are nearing the end of your Anna Maria Island vacation and it is winter time then we suggest you take a trip North to Apollo Beach.  The Manatees hang out at the power station because of all the warm water discharged from the power station. The Tampa power station has created a Manatee Viewing area for visitors.  Just a quick 50 minute drive from the island. If the temperature is below 75 Farenheit you likely wont be disappointed with your trip.  Ok, maybe it is tough to cut into your beach time to take the trip?  Even better, visit the Manatee CAM at Apollo Beach.  You can zoom in and out when it is your turn and you can see Manatees on your computer!

A truly unique animal, Manatees are a precious part of Anna Maria Island.

Manatees
Born in 1948, Snooty the Manatee is the oldest Manatee in captivity. Photo Credit: Baynews9.com

Looking for an Anna Maria Island vacation rental home situated right in the middle of Manatee territory? Island Real Estate has you covered! “Jackie’s Cottage” is a vacation destination with great Manatee Sightings.

Canal front vacation rental
Jackie’s Cottage is a canal front home often visited by Manatees!

Snooty’s Birthday Bash at the South Florida Museum

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Snooty the manatee

Snooty the manatee makes his home at the South Florida Museum in downtown Bradenton, and he is celebrating his 65th birthday on Saturday, July 20th! Snooty is the first manatee to have a recorded birth date, and he has blossomed into a mascot for Anna Maria and Bradenton. The party will include numerous games and activities from not only the  museum but also Mote Marine Laboratory, Busch Gardens, Bishop Animal Shelter, and Jungle Gardens. Snooty’s party is themed around wildlife preservation, ecological conservation and environmental sustainability. This celebration welcomes the entire family from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m for free!

Snooty’s Birthday Bash- Newer information page
Admission is FREE
South Florida Museum:
201 10th Street W, Bradenton FL. 34205

Saturday, July 20th 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Note: while this event has come and gone.  You can count on at least a small celebration each Summer for Snooty.  Be sure to go visit South Florida Museum if you want to participate in the celebration.  Sorry, not sure if admission will be free but well worth your time!

Bradenton – South Florida Museum’s Think + Drink (Science)

south florida museum's think + The South Florida Museum’s “Think + Drink (science)” transforms the Bishop Planetarium’s lobby into a cafe. Think + Drink offers a place where people can go to lounge on a couch, grab a beer or a glass of wine (or a soft drink) and learn about science in a relaxed informal setting. Each month a presenter discusses the topic of the month, and then holds an open discussion afterwards.

Drinks and bar snacks are available for purchase and you are welcome to bring your own food. South Florida Museum’s Think + Drink (science) begins at 7:00pm and ends at 9:00pm.

South Florida Museum
201 10th Street West
Bradenton, 34205

Bradenton’s Bishop Planetarium Film Friday

Join Bishop Planetarium for their weekly Film Friday, playing the “best movies you’ve never seen”.  All movies begin at 6:00pm and prior to all showings beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. Kick back and relax with the Bishop Planetarium while watching the classics!

 

Tickets are $5 for General Admission and $3 for Museum Members.

 

 

Upcoming Movies Include:

Jan 11th “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” (1948)

Jan 18th “Rope” (1948)

Jan 25th “Hamlet” (1948)

Feb 1st “The Red Shoes” (1948)

Feb 8th “I Remember Mama” (1948)

Feb 15th “A Foreign Affair” (1948)

Feb 22nd “Force of Evil” (1948)

For more information including future movies visit the Bishop Planetarium website.

Bishop Planetarium
201 10th Street W.
Bradenton, 34205
(941) 746-4131

Join Snooty The Manatee For His 63rd Birthday Party!

Join Snooty The Manatee For His 63rd Birthday Party!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SNOOTY!

Join Snooty the manatee this Saturday for his 63rd birthday party!   The birthday party starts at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the South Florida Museum.   The annual event is held in the museum’s outdoor Spanish Plaza, and is absolutely free for all of Snooty’s friends and fans.

Snooty was born July 21, 1948, at the old Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, Snooty is one of the first recorded births of a manatee in captivity.  Snooty is the world’s oldest manatee on record!

South Florida Museum
201 10th Street West
Bradenton FL 34205