Act Like a Kid
Discover big-time fun at these kid-friendly spots
by Stephen Kubiak
Known for its beautiful sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere, the Bradenton Area makes for a perfect destination for families. Its kid-friendly attractions, which spark a sense of adventure and wonder, are sure to have your kids clamoring for a return visit. Here’s a quick look at some of the fun-sized experiences the Bradenton Area has to offer.
From fantastic birding to abundant aquatic life, the Bradenton Area is teeming with nature. If you’re looking for a unique way to learn about local flora and fauna, check out local nature tours including Around the Bend Nature Tours, Beach Bums, SurferBus, AMI Paddleboard & Kayak Adventures, and Happy Paddler. Specializing in expertly guided field trips throughout the area, these guides will help you and your kids discover the wonder of our natural world. Wind your way through twisting mangroves and explore the ever-changing coastline, paddle through local waters to observe undisturbed nature, or search for spoonbills and go birding with binoculars.
Florida Railroad Museum
One of the most unusual attractions in the area, the Florida Railroad Museum, is an “off-the-rails” experience that remains firmly on the rails (railroad tracks, that is). The history of railroading comes to life as guests have a chance to board a historic train and travel on a six-mile rail line between Parrish and Willow, Florida. While touring the museum, you can get up close to classic and antique engines that steamed across the state. Be sure to look out for special events, such as the North Pole Express trip to meet Santa or a Day Out with Thomas when Thomas the Tank Engine comes for a visit.
A day on the water is good, but a day on the water with the promise of seeing dolphins is great! Embark on a family-friendly aquatic excursion through the stunning waters around Anna Maria Island to spot dolphins, manatees, and more with local guides, such as Anna Maria Island Dolphin Tours, Paradise Boat Tours, Salty Dolphin Tours, and Captain Kathe Charters. Trips are fully narrated and these experts will let you know when to keep on the lookout for marine life.
The Bishop Museum of Science + Nature
The Bishop is the largest natural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and it features history all the way back to the Pleistocene age through present. Check out fossil evidence and archaeological artifacts that paint a picture of the animals that once called Florida home. A planetarium on-site presents astronomy programs—and, arguably best of all, there’s a rehabilitation habitat for Florida’s beloved marine mammal, the manatee.
TreeUmph Adventure Course
At TreeUmph Adventure Course, both kids and adults can enjoy climbing, swinging, and soaring through the pine trees. TreeUmph has courses suitable for different abilities and ages five and up, but with all of the thrills and adventure (plus all of the safety features and trained staff). Just don’t look down, kids!