So Much to Explore

Start here to enjoy an exciting day in Bradenton or to venture a bit further afield for other regional activities.

 

 

 
Live Artfully logo - ArtCenter Manatee
Photo courtesy of ArtCenter Manatee
Back door entrance to ArtCenter Manatee
Photo courtesy of ArtCenter Manatee

  ArtCenter Manatee

209 9th St. W

Founded in 1937, ArtCenter Manatee holds a mission of providing a welcoming, professional environment; educating novice and experienced artists of all age, providing galleries to exhibit and market original artwork; and enhancing the visual arts in Manatee County through special events and outreach programs.

ArtCenter Manatee features the Artists' Market, where you can purchase unique, affordable gifts made by local artists. Three galleries feature exhibitions that change monthly and showcase the work of more than 2,000 local, regional and national artists.

Visit ArtCenter Manatee's website (click the name above) to learn more about events hosted by the Center.

 

 

Bradenton Marauders mascot Marty the Marauder
Photo courtesy of the Bradenton Marauders
View from behind the plate at LECOM Park baseball game
Photo courtesy of the Bradenton Marauders

  Bradenton Marauders

LECOM Park, 1611 9th Street West

Come watch the Marauders, the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Marauders play in the Florida State League and have called LECOM Park (formerly McKechnie Field) home since 2010. LECOM received the top honor of the 2018 Best of the Ballparks fan vote for High-A facilities, conducted by Ballpark Digest. The same publication has previously recognized LECOM as "Best of the Ballparks" in Spring Training's Grapefruit League.

The Marauders offer a family friendly experience in a beautiful setting. Baseball, hot dogs, cracker jacks, fireworks and giveaways are only a few of the reasons why taking in a Marauders game is an affordable treat for the entire family.

Landscaping at the entrance to Glazier Gates Tot Park
City of Bradenton photo
Playground at Lewis Park
City of Bradenton photo

  Bradenton Parks

The City of Bradenton Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the City’s parks, buildings, medians, and rights-of-ways. Maintenance includes mowing, edging, mulching, tree trimming, plant replacement, and equipment replacement as deemed necessary.

A priority is the continued replacement of existing park and playground equipment.  New equipment incorporates current safety standards.  

Here are some rules regarding the City's parks:

  • All parks are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Riverwalk is open 24 hours a day. The Riverwalk splash pad is active 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, and changes seasonally.
  • Alcohol is prohibited in City parks unless there is an approved special event.
  • Dogs are allowed in all parks, but owners must follow City ordinances regarding leashes and pick up of dog waste.

There is a full list of Bradenton Parks here.

Colorful Tower Plaza
Photo courtesy of Realize Bradenton
Riverwalk skateboard park
Photo courtesy of Realize Bradenton

  Bradenton Riverwalk

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile stretch of land lying between the Green and DeSoto bridges along the banks of the Manatee River. It is a major expansion of Rossi Park.

Visitors can enjoy a safe, lighted walking path along the river, fishing, beach volleyball, a skateboard park, entertainment events and many educational activities along the way. An "outdoor living room" with shaded lounge chairs overlooking the river is a popular spot, and the Riverwalk provides a kids zone with a playground and splash pad and also an outdoor exercise pad for adults. 

The City is currently undertaking an Eastward expansion of the Riverwalk, and updates to this project will be maintained on the Public Works/Capital Projects page and on the Economic Development/Project Updates page.

Scenic bridge overlook at Myakka State Park
Photo courtesy of Myakka State Park
Up-close look at a sea turtle
Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

  Bradenton-area ((ecko)) Tours

((ecko)) connects with local eco-tour operators to help lead explorations of the natural wonders and fascinating cultural heritage of the Florida Gulf Coast.

This is a non-profit collaboration of local environmental organizations and green businesses dedicated to sharing knowledge about this area and why it is so unique. ((ecko) offers fun and authentic adventures while minimizing ecological footprints.

Among the Sarasota-Manatee Gulf Coast offerings here are Manatee County Parks & Reserves and The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature; regionally, there are the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Historic Spanish Point and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.  

De Soto coastal shoreline
Photo courtesy of De Soto National Memorial
Historic flag, camping on coastline
Photo courtesy of De Soto National Memorial

  De Soto National Memorial

8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy

The De Soto National Memorial is administered by the National Park Service, and the memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors to the De Soto National Memorial can hike nature trails through the Florida coastal landscape, go fishing or bird-watching, have a picnic, and attend living history demonstrations. Exhibits at the visitor center include historic armor, 16th-century weapons, and period artifacts. There is a theater featuring the movie "Hernando De Soto in America." Park admission is free.

Elliott Smith Magician show
Photo courtesy of Manatee County Library
Library Line Dancing class
Photo courtesy of Manatee County Library

  Manatee County Libraries

Downtown Central Library - 1301 Barcarrota Blvd West 

The Manatee County Public Library System was named the Florida Library Association's 2016 Library of the Year and is a past two-time Innovation winner. The system has six locations around Manatee County and Anna Maria Island. The library system offers a wide range of educational and technological resources and programs and a wide array of digital e-books, e-audio and movies.

One of the most unique things about the library's collections is the Library of Things, which includes telescopes, fishing poles, cake pans, musical instruments and even museum visits!

Manatee Libraries was visited by nearly 850,000 customers last year, and those customers made use of library resources over 3.9 million times, which is a record high for the system. There's a lot to do at Manatee County Libraries! Visit a library branch for all the details.

Aerial view of Manatee Performing Arts Center
Photo courtesy of Manatee Performing Arts Center
"Newsies" at the Manatee Performing Arts Center
Photo courtesy of Manatee Performing Arts Center

  Manatee Performing Arts Center

502 Third Avenue West

The Manatee Performing Arts Center opened to its first audience in March 2013, but the history of the Manatee Players goes back nearly 70 years. 

The Manatee Players are dedicated to the continued mission of making arts and cultural events accessible to our community. Offerings at the Manatee Performing Arts Center include The Broadway Series, The Studio Series and Community Artistic Collaborations.

The Manatee Players and the Manatee Performing Arts Center provide diverse, enriching opportunities for the entertainment and education of residents and visitors to the Gulf Coast. The organizations’ vision celebrates this long history of community enrichment while committing itself to expanding both its artistic repertoire and community education programs to attract and serve every sector of our region.

 

 

Get up close and personal with a manatee at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote medical staff with dolphin
Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

  Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236

Mote Marine Lab is an independent, nonprofit marine research institution with marine scientists and staff committed to the belief that the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans begins with research and education. 

Originally focused on sharks, the lab's research has expanded to include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the health of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help gain a better understanding of the health of the environment.

The Aquarium and Mammal Research & Rehabilitation Center are open year-round, 365 days a year, including holidays. Aside from Aquarium visits, Mote hosts many events throughout the year. Please click on their website above for more information.

 

Aerial view of River Run Golf Links
Photo courtesy of River Run Golf Links
Aerial view of River Run Golf Links
Photo courtesy of River Run Golf Links

  River Run Golf Links

1801 27th Street East

In operation for over 25 years. River Run has established itself as one of the Gulf Coast’s most popular municipal golf courses. The 18-hole, par-70 layout, situated on the west bank of the beautiful Braden River, offers a rewarding experience for golfers of all ages and abilities.

River Run has continued to set the standard of public golf with its unique combination of affordability, strategic design and exemplary customer service. The course caters to outings and tournament groups, maintains seasonal golf leagues, and conducts five annual amateur events known as The City of Bradenton Championship Series - City of Bradenton Amateur Championship, Senior Amateur, Senior 2-Man, Two-Man Combo and Two-Man Championship.

 

Fun in the sun at Riverwalk Splash Pad
City of Bradenton photo
Children at Riverwalk Splash Pad
City of Bradenton photo

  Riverwalk Splash Pad

750 3rd Ave. West on Bradenton Riverwalk

The splash pad and the Riverwalk playground, which is just next door, comprise the Family Fun Zone at the Riverwalk.

The splash pad is one of the most popular elements of the Riverwalk and it's easy to see why - cool water on hot Florida days, a comfortable and soft ground surface, an easy way to entertain the kids.

The Riverwalk Splash Pad at Rossi Park is open 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. seven days a week during Daylight Savings Time unless lightning, high winds or otherwise threatening weather forces it to shut down. There are times when the splash pad is closed due to another event nearby, for example during the Bradenton Blues Fest.

When it's open, when the sun is beating down, it's one of the coolest places in town to be. Have fun! 

Artificial bison on display at The Bishop
Photo courtesy of The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature alternate logo featuring space, coastline and forest
Photo courtesy of The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

  The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

201 10th St. West

According to its website, the stated mission of "The Bishop" is "to engage and inspire learners of all ages; we protect, interpret and communicate scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world, and our universe."

Visit once and you'll see that the museum is doing a great job with that. 

Exhibitions, both traveling and permanent, offer a glimpse at what a fascinating world we inhabit. There's also the Planetarium, where you can take in a star show and lecture, and the Manatee Habitat, where injured manatees are rehabilitated and eventually released back into the animal's home waters. Presentations are made three times a day so that visitors can see the manatees currently in the rehab habitat.

There's a lot to do at The Bishop. Come see what you can learn.

 

Village of the Arts has artistic and colorful signs
City of Bradenton photo
Yard art in Village of the Arts
City of Bradenton photo

  Village of the Arts

Village of the Arts is an area near downtown bordered by 9th St. W & 14th St. W. and by 9th Ave. W. & 17th Ave. W. More than 275 individual properties are located within the Village. The Village residents and business owners share the vision of a community where artists live and work while enhancing quality of life and creating a harmonious environment

For almost two decades, the Guild and Village residents have made Village of the Arts a destination for art lovers and for those who merely wish to witness the nurturing and furtherance of the creative spirit.

The Village is an eclectic mix of early 20th century residential bungalows, Florida Cracker homes, and later additions.

Artwalks occur monthly on the first Friday weekend from  6-9 p.m. on Friday and then 11 am-4 pm on Saturday. 

 

Palm tree on Walk Bradenton postcard
Photo courtesy of Realize Bradenton
Walk Bradenton "Everything is Nearby" logo
Photo courtesy of Realize Bradenton

  Walk Bradenton

Walk Bradenton is a website that will help you find things near you, whether you are looking for dining, art, entertainment, or even parking. With the help of your smartphone, Walk Bradenton will help you find out what there is to see and do in the downtown Bradenton area.

The website is a customized, local virtual map that shows you locations that are all within reasonable walking distance of wherever you connect with your Smartphone. When you type in the web address, the website finds you and shows you what things are near you. 

You can use the filter tool if you are looking for a specific category - say, restaurants or public art. When the site suggests what is nearby, you can easily make dining reservations directly from the website. 

Everything you need to get started is at WalkBradenton.com.