Bradenton, Florida is full of fun activities. They have different parks, art galleries, museums, and even escape rooms that really put the mind to work. The parks are always cleaned up and beautiful, so no one has to visit and see garbage lying about. There are plenty of relaxing activities to keep those who want a simple trip, and there are plenty of adventurous activities to keep those that need it busy. Keep each of these activities in mind if travelers are visiting this area in Florida. Check out our list of the best things to do in Bradenton, Florida.
1. Manatee Village Historical Park
An open-air museum and a park in Florida’s Bradenton, Manatee Village Historical Park is recognized as a National Historic Site. This space comprises 14 replica and preserved structures to honor Manatee County’s founding period from 1840-1918. Some of these structures that represent Manatee County include Fogarty Boatworks, the 1912 Stephens House, and the 1887 Methodist church, to name a few. Besides the exhibit, the facility also hosts special events such as workshops and lectures.
Manatee Village Historical Park
Address: 1404 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208
Website: Manatee Village Historical Park
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 11:30am (closed on Sun & Mon)
2. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
Another place that is worth visiting in the area is the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. It takes pride in being the biggest natural and cultural history museum on the state’s gulf coast. Inside, you will find exhibits highlighting Florida’s earliest animal inhabitants, a collection of prehistoric artifacts, and galleries about the state’s ecology and biodiversity. This museum also boasts a planetarium that has one of the most advanced projection systems in the world.
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
Address: 201 10th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
3. DeSoto National Memorial Park
Located in Manatee County, DeSoto National Memorial Park is a place that was established to commemorate the landing of Hernando de Soto in 1539, a Spanish explorer and conquistador who made landfall in Tampa Bay along with his army of soldiers. Aside from that, it was also built to remember the Europeans’ first exploration of the southern United States. The memorial is encompassed by a river, coastline, and mangrove swamp. Visitors can enjoy nature walks, attend demonstrations, and more.
DeSoto National Memorial Park
Address: 8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL 34209
Website: DeSoto National Memorial Park
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
4. Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
At the end of a long day on the water we stop, breathe, and enjoy the little things! Like this beautiful Sunset and a...Posted by Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions on Monday, October 12, 2020
While out and about in Bradenton, Florida, sign up for a snorkeling tour with Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions. This family-owned company has years of experience who love to share their knowledge and thrill of adventure with everyone. Snorkel in the calm and tranquil waters of Anna Maria, where you may get a glimpse of manatees and dolphins. To ensure guests’ safety, snorkel gear is provided along with life jackets.
Coastline Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions
Address: 12312 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 8pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
5. Perico Preserve
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Perico Preserve is the first preserve in Manatee County that was transformed into a beautiful bird sanctuary. It comes with several trails for biking and hiking, making it a perfect spot for cyclists and hikers. Also, this area features a good mix of old farmlands and a contemporary, well-maintained landscape. Although pets are welcome, it’s best to leave them at home (except for the service dogs) so the birds can have a chance to breed and take care of their young ones.
Address: 11700 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
Website: Perico Preserve
6. Neal Preserve
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
A 120-acre (48.5 hectares) preserve, Neal Preserve in Manatee County is a combination of mesmerizing coastal habitat and oak hammock upland. The area comprises mangrove forests and salt terns. Within the area, you will find a boardwalk, shell trails, and an observation tower. Also known as a historical site, Neal Preserve will take you through reconstructed burial grounds and some inhabited areas from 3000 BC to 1400 AD. Since it is home to nesting birds, you are not allowed to bring pets or cycle on the trails.
Address: 12301 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34209
Website: Neal Preserve
7. Lake Manatee State Park
Lake Manatee State Park is a beautiful park where visitors can go to have a relaxing day if they choose to unwind. It’s also a great place to take kids because they can run around and do whatever they want for hours on end. Visitors should try taking a picnic basket with them full of goodies and a blanket to sit out on to enjoy the lovely views.
Be sure to bring water though, as it can get very hot here in the middle of the summer months. A volleyball or beach ball of some sort will make the day go by even smoother for something to play with. If trying to travel light, there are plenty of places where coolers, chairs, and even beach sports equipment can be rented for a few hours a day to ensure that everyone has the things they need in order for their trip to have everything that it could possibly want.
Lake Manatee State Park
Address: 20007 State Rd 64, 34212 Bradenton FL
Website: Lake Manatee State Park
Great photo submitted by Beth Paker Wicker for our new weekly photo cover contest.Posted by Bradenton Riverwalk on Saturday, 25 June 2016
A very busy place on the weekends, there is so much to do at the Riverwalk in Bradenton, Florida. They have a skate park for those that know a thing or two about skateboarding or roller blading and there’s a sand volleyball court, although visitors do need to bring their own volleyball if they wish to play with the nets. They are kept very nice and it’s fun to play volleyball with friends in the sun. There is also a fishing pier, an outdoor amphitheater where they host quite a few events in the warmer months, an outdoor living room with comfy chairs for visitors to read or people watch, and a splash fountain which makes for a great cool down after a long hot day in Florida. It’s also great for kids of all ages to play in when the sun just gets too hot.
Address: 101 Waterfront Dr, 34205 Bradenton, FL
9. Palma Sola Botanical Park
Bradenton, Florida has a lot of pleasing areas to visit, such as the Palma Sola Botanical Park. A beautiful botanical park to take a walk in, the Palma Sola Botanical Park is highly rated for its beautiful grounds. They keep everything so well-kept here, from the trash pick up to the dead flowers. There is very little to complain about here. The reason for building the Palma Sola Botanical Park, which started in 1990, was to keep a natural space for younger generations to learn about the environment in a natural setting.
The Palma Sola Botanical Park Foundation was formed in 1993 and the park has run on donations, grants, and volunteers since they do not have state or county funding, nor have they ever had it. Kids and adults can learn about different plants, trees, and animals here in the peaceful park without being bothered by any digital devices. Be sure to keep an eye out for all the wildlife that live here. From frogs and toads to different birds, there really is a lesson to be taught everywhere you go.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
Address: 9800 17th Ave NW, 34209 Bradenton, FL
Website: Palma Sola Botanical Park
10. Village of the Arts
The Village of the Arts contains a lot of different events for visitors of the Bradenton area to enjoy. Music festivals and concerts take place here on a weekly basis but that’s not all that this treasure holds. They hold a lot of artistic events here, such as public painting lessons and making homemade jewelry. This is definitely a craft lover’s dream. Founded in 1999, Village of the Arts is basically a community art center, home to several art galleries, studios, restaurants and specialty shops.
Everything is located in colorfully decorated 1920s bungalow homes, so that should help the creativity flow from those that visit. This is a great place to visit for not only tourists but locals too. They have music, jewelry, literature, different types of art, and even some fantastic gourmet food.
Village of the Arts
Address: 1017 12th Ave W, 34205 Bradenton, FL
Website: Village of the Arts
11. Florida Maritime Museum
Florida Maritime Museum 4415 119th Street W Cortez, Florida 34215 • 941-708-6121Posted by Florida Maritime Museum on Wednesday, 23 January 2013
A non-profit organization, the old Cortez Rural Graded School was transformed into the Florida Maritime Museum to educate visitors on the topic of Florida’s maritime heritage. It sits on 1.6 hectares (four acres) of land in the historic fishing village of Cortez. They share pieces of old fishing boats and they have plenty of old photos that depict the amount of fishing they did in the area long ago.
Exhibits also include boat models, tools, and even the fishing instruments they used to help their industry flourish. It’s truly amazing to see all these historical facts displayed on the walls of an old building. There is also a research library on the grounds that can help visitors understand more about the historical aspects of Cortez if they have such an interest in it.
Florida Maritime Museum
Address: 4415 119 St W, 34215 Cortez, FL
Website: Florida Maritime Museum
12. Robinson Preserve
The weekend is almost here! Who's planning to paddle at the preserve this weekend? Photo by Steve BrownPosted by Robinson Preserve on Friday, 30 June 2017
Sometimes you just need to slip away from the crowd. Photo by Wendy RecorePosted by Robinson Preserve on Monday, 14 November 2016
A natural area for visitors of Bradenton to explore, the Robinson Preserve has lots of different wildlife to see and learn about. This 195-hectare (487-acre) preserve has undergone a transformation from disturbed farmland to coastal and wetland habitats. To restore the land to its natural state, the Natural Resources Department partnered with a number of state and local agencies such as the Florida Communities Trust Florida Forever Program as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Florida Communities Trust, Army Corps of Engineers, and Southwest Florida Water Management District. Because they have so much funding and help from different agencies, the grounds have been turned into beautiful natural habitats for animals of all species to make a home here. The grounds have hiking and biking trails as well as a canoe and kayak launch with plenty of picnic areas to enjoy.
Address: 1704 99th St NW, 34209 Bradenton, FL
Website: Robinson Preserve
13. Sea Hagg Art Gallery
Come on in this Saturday! We'll be celebrating our 19th year in business and you're invited! Check out our one day only 19% off sale, plus wine and cheese from 2 to 6 p.m.!Posted by The Sea Hagg on Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Sea Hagg Art Gallery is more of an antique store where visitors can stop by and enjoy different antique pieces of history that have occurred in the village of Cortez. They have quite the unique collection of nautical salvage, and some of these things are even for sale. They have great gifts, such as real brass portholes, actual ship instruments, anchors and fish nets.
Sea Hagg Art Gallery
Address: 12304 Cortez Rd W, 34215 Cortez, FL
Website: Sea Hagg Art Gallery
14. Element of Escape
Escape rooms are always a ton of fun, especially when there is a larger group to play with. They really get the mind working and thinking in order to solve the puzzle that they are given. There are two different rooms that visitors can be put in and as soon as the doors are “locked,” the timer for 60 minutes starts to count down. The rooms both contain puzzles, hidden items, and clues that can help the customers get their way out of the “locked” rooms.
Element of Escape
Address: 1007 Manatee Ave E, Suite A, 34208 Bradenton, FL
Website: Element of Escape
15. Felts Audubon Preserve
A beautiful environmental escape in a rural area, Felts Audubon Preserve is a magical treasure near Bradenton, Florida. Getting to hear the birds chirp their pretty songs and see little chipmunks and squirrels run through the grass is a peaceful sight anyone can find enjoyable and relaxing. There are paths all around this 12 hectares (30 acres) of land for visitors to walk and see a natural life that surrounds us. They have benches surrounding the area for people to rest while on their walks and the trails always kept nice and garbage free for new feet to travel on.
Felts Audubon Preserve
Address: 4600 24th Ave E, 34221 Palmetto, FL
Website: Felts Audubon Preserve
Nature at its finest
Bradenton, Florida is a great place to see nature the way it was intended to be seen. They have beaches, parks, and preserves that keep visitors of all ages busy. The area is definitely the place to do some serious relaxation but it’s also a great place for walking and biking trails, so be sure to pack comfortable shoes. With art galleries to ease the creative mind and bike trails to ease the antsy feet, Bradenton, Florida is a fantastic place for everyone to visit.
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