I love living in Bradenton Florida. The sun, the beach, the warm weather (almost) all year long, and the nature are all reasons we decided to settle here. You’ve probably read this before, but it was the best move our family has ever made. We have Great Blue Herons and Sand Hill Cranes right in our backyard. We’ve seen otters right out back, too, as well as armadillos. And yes, a gator or two, but they mind their own business!
Shortly after we moved here we were swimming in the Gulf and spotted several manatee swimming around us. They are said to be very gentle, but we didn’t get close enough to find out. They are protected and not supposed to be disturbed. Besides, up close, they are huge! Which brings me to the first reason you should visit Bradenton.
6 reasons you should visit Bradenton
- This year, Bradenton’s own Snooty, the Guinness World Record-holding “Oldest Living Manatee in Captivity” will be celebrating a birthday at his home, the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum. Snooty’s annual birthday party gives you a once in a lifetime chance to meet him and help him celebrate turning 69 on July 21st! Snooty has a big job. He’s not only the area mascot, but he’s helped researchers learn more about manatees. The first recorded birth of a manatee in captivity, Snooty weighs 1,020 pounds and is 9 feet 8 inches long. I’m pretty sure it’s a safe bet that he’s also the only manatee with his own live online SnootyCam! Snooty’s 69th Birthday Bash will include games and contests, half off admission to the Museum (and it’s Aquarium and Planetarium) and the opportunity to say hello to Snooty (and sing “Happy Birthday” to him) at the underwater view of the manatee pool! It’s going to be a blast! But Snooty is only one of many things to see and do in Bradenton.
- Gorgeous white sand beaches of Anna Maria Island: Honestly, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the waves are calm, perfect for first time surfers to learn to get up on the board.
- Horse Surfing: Riding on horseback along the beach is something most people only see on commercials about tropical destinations, but you can do it here in Bradenton along Palma Sola Bay where they actually take riders into the water.
- Turtle Talks and Excavation Tours: In the summer months during turtle nesting season, learn from the experts about the area’s turtle nests and maybe even watch a baby sea turtle’s first steps to the Gulf. I’ve seen it and it’s something you’ll never forget.
- Recreational Sports: Kayaking in Emerson Preserve and Robinson Preserve where you may even see a manatee in the wild. Windsurfing, sailing, and jet skiing on the calm waters of Palma Sola Bay.
- Fantastic food: Whether you head up to the Cortez Fishing Village to the Starfish for some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted- fresh off the boat, the Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant after a day on the beach, to Mattison’s City Grille on Bradenton’s River Walk, or to Skinny’s, a one-of-a-kind restaurant with one of the best burgers around, you’ll be blown away at the delicious choices in Bradenton. Don’t forget to check out the Shake Pit for ice cream after dinner (if you have room!) NOTE: the Starfish, Skinny’s and the Shake Pit only take cash!
By the way, if you’re looking for a romantic restaurant, I have suggestions for that, too! So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Bradenton vacation now and let me know when you’re here!