Bradenton for Kids
All fun. All day. No lines. Can’t wait!
For a long time, parents have chosen the Bradenton Area to spend their family vacations. You might guess that’s because of our amazing beaches (the relaxation!), our incredible variety of local boutiques and artisans (the shopping!) our world-class sports facilities and golf courses (Fore!) and many more reasons (the seafood, the scenery, the sunsets!) too numerous to recall. And you’d be half right. But the full story is less obvious.
The real reason many parents come to the Bradenton Area is because they themselves came here when they were kids with their parents. And now they want to pass those childhood memories down to their own children. For generations families have been starting new family traditions in the Bradenton Area. It’s the ideal place where kids can go wild and parents can be kids again.
Here are six spots that will help you see exactly what we mean.
Hand-Painted Sand Dollars & Ice Cream Bubbles
Pine Avenue is renowned among shopaholics for its bounty of local boutiques. But as every parent knows, kids love shopping too. And for that, Shiny Fish Emporium is the kind of place kids like best. Filled with whimsical beach-themed gifts, the best souvenir is the one kids can design themselves: sand dollars you can paint right in the shop. Top off your shopping with a refreshing, tropical ice cream bubble in wild flavors like pistachio, guava and even sakura!
The Ultimate Family Photo Op
Just a couple blocks from Shiny Fish is one of the most photographed places on the island: Anna Maria City Jail. Part of the popular Anna Maria Island Historical Society, the jail was built in 1927 to “quarter the rowdies” who had imbibed a bit too much at the local tavern. Kids love the story about how the jail had bars but no windows, subjecting prisoners to a restless night fending off mosquitos. Parents love the unforgettable pics and selfies they’ll all take together.
Donut Miss This Experiment
Two things kids love: mixing ingredients together to create the weirdest possible flavor combination. And donuts. The Donut Experiment mixes both interests together at one delicious location. Kids start with a delicious fresh-made cake donut and get to be as creative as they’d like by picking from a huge selection of icings and toppings—including rainbow sprinkles, Fruity Pebbles, Sea Salt and many more.
Small Batches. Big Flavors. Many Locations
One simple rule in life: you can’t go wrong with ice cream. At family-owned Tyler’s Gourmet Ice Cream, they take a unique approach to their flavors. Each batch is hand made in small five-gallon quantities to ensure distinct taste and freshness. But the fun is the variety. Since its founding in 1984, Tyler’s has developed more than 300 flavors to choose from. And with three locations across the Bradenton Area, a refreshing ice-cream break is never far away.
What’s Under The Water?
At Paradise Boat Tours, underwater adventure awaits kids. On this 90-minute, fully narrated boat tour of the bay, kids can get up close and personal with the underwater creatures that call the Bradenton Area home: dolphins, manatees, rays, blue herons and others. The knowledgeable captains and crew are fill the tours with facts and personal insights about the area residents of this unique ecosystem. Depending on the time of day, your tour may include one of our unforgettable sunsets.