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Summer School: Bradenton Area Educational Fun

There are plenty of ways to experience the Bradenton Area during the summer, especially if you’re looking to add some enjoyable learning opportunities. From history to ecology, outer space to agriculture, you’ll find an abundance of exciting family excursions with an educational component. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s something for everyone to enhance your knowledge!

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

“The Bishop” is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. You’ll find engaging exhibits that feature artifacts, fossils, native peoples—and some lovable rescue manatees. Make the most of your learning experience by downloading the Pathways app to your smartphone. This handy app is like having your own personal tour guide, explaining everything as you go. The best part? You get to choose your own adventure! Into Manatees? There’s a tour for that. Same with fossils, women’s history, and more. Plan to spend most of your day here, especially since you’ll want to visit planetarium and go hands-on in The Backyard Universe.

Manatee County Agricultural Museum

The Bradenton Area has deep roots in the agricultural industry, which still plays a vital role in the local economy. This rich farming heritage is celebrated at the Manatee County Agricultural Museum, where you can explore the historical achievements of local farmers with hands-on exhibits to educate and entertain. A popular new program to check out is Take It Make It, a themed, to-go bag that’s pre-packaged with a video suggestion, unique crafts, snack ideas, and extra learning resources for your kid. Take It Make It is the perfect way to discover more about the local agricultural history, while having some fun at the same time.

Mixon Fruit Farms

Florida produces more than 70 percent of the United States' supply of citrus, and you can learn all about these deliciously-tart fruits at Mixon Fruit Farms. Take a ride through the lush groves on the Orange Blossom Express, an open-air tram where you’ll learn the secrets of Bradenton Area citrus. These entertaining tours are full of educational tidbits and trivia—and they’re loads of fun, too. The tram makes a stop at Wildlife Inc., a wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary that serves as an education center to learn more about these special creatures. Be sure to visit the Groveside Café where you can sample (and buy!) some of their famous Orange Swirl ice cream, made with fresh Mixon orange juice!

The NEST at Robinson Preserve

The NEST is a fantastic way to check out an unobstructed, 360-degree view of Robinson Preserve. But it’s more than just a spectacular vantage point, this place has an educational purpose. The Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology, or NEST, is a classroom and event space that is ripe for learning about the ecology of the area through hands-on interpretive programming designed for all ages. Since you’re already at the preserve, set out for a hike along one of the many trails to witness many forms of wildlife and remarkable vistas. Be sure to download the Bradenton Area Birding Guide from the NEST wi-fi so you can have fun identifying all of the birds you spot on your walk!