Things to do at Bradenton's Riverwalk

HERALD STAFF REPORTOctober 14, 2012 

BRADENTON -- The newly revamped 1.5-mile Bradenton Riverwalk along the Manatee River features art, an amphitheater, a skatepark and other amenities that city officials hope will attract tens of thousands of people from the city, Tampa Bay region and the world.

With that, the team who brought the Riverwalk to fruition anticipate a tremendous boon to the economy -- and to residents' quality of life.

Starting at the west end at the Green Bridge to the Manatee Memorial Hospital area on the east, here's what you will see in the $6.2 million park:

n DAY DOCK: City officials say they will monitor the 350-foot-long dock to make sure visitors don't leave their boats overnight.

Scheduled events: History cruise, noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. Nov. 4,

n GREAT LAWN: Spacious grass area where people can hang out, play catch, read a book.

Scheduled events: Kid's Create, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 8.

n TOWER PLAZA: The 30-foot-tall tower will feature large banners visible to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians from the Green Bridge. Banners will provide information on upcoming Riverwalk events.

Scheduled events: Pioneer Roundup, noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 4, Kid's Create, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 8.

n BOTANICAL WALK: Butterfly garden featuring native Florida plants. About a dozen adults from Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities Inc. helped grow and plant native plants at the garden.

n MOSAIC AMPHITHEATER: The existing amphitheater was expanded to fit larger bands. Sycamore trees were planted to provide natural shade for concert-goers.

Scheduled events: Riverwalk Fishing College, noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 20; Youth Theater, noon to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 27; Pump Boys and the Dinettes, 2-2:30 p.m. Oct. 27; Music in the Park, 5-7 p.m. Nov. 1, 8, and 15.

n PAVILION & EVENT AREA: This will be the site for large-crowd events.

Scheduled events: Grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony 4:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 18; Reels at Rossi, third Fridays of the month (Oct.-Dec.) at dusk; Star Talk Along Riverwalk, 6:30 -8 p.m. Oct. 20; Sarasota Pops Orchestra, 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25; Village of the Arts Sampler, 5-8 p.m. Oct. 25; ArtSlam at the River, noon to 10 p.m. Nov. 10; Riverwalk Open Air Painting at pavilion 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 15; Bradenton Blues Festival, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 1.

n FAMILY FUN ZONE: Two playgrounds, one for children up to 5 years old and another for children ages 6-12.

Scheduled events: Water Works Science Fun, 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 17; The Blues Appetizer Concert, 6-9 p.m. Nov. 30.

n SPLASH PAD: Interactive water fountain for children and the young at heart to cool off on hot summer days.

n FIRST RESPONDERS' MEMORIAL: Honors the Manatee County men and women who have died in the line of duty.

n FISHING PIER: Those hoping for a catch along the 300-foot-long fishing pier may get unexpected visitors sometimes: birds.

Scheduled events: Riverwalk Fishing College, noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 20,

n TIDAL DISCOVERY ZONE: The discovery marsh changes at low and high tides. City officials say this will be one of the educational components at the park where students will learn about the ecosystems.

n OUTDOOR LIVING ROOMS: Visitors can sit back and relax at several of the lounge chairs and benches scattered throughout the shaded outdoor living rooms.

Scheduled events: Yoga in the Park, every Saturday 8-9 a.m. from Oct. 20 to Dec. 1.

n FLEX LAWN: The space for future health and wellness classes.

n BEACH VOLLEYBALL COURTS: Want to kick off your shoes? Two sand volleyball courts await.

n SKATE PARK: Regional skateboarding tournaments are expected at the new skate park overlooking the Manatee River and below the DeSoto Bridge.

n VETERANS MEMORIAL: Honors the men and women who have served our country.

n REGATTA PLAZA: Plans for dragon boat races and large-scale competitions are within city officials' vision.

Scheduled events: Drum circle, every Sunday 5-6 p.m. from Oct. 21 to Nov. 18.

n KAYAK AND CANOE LAUNCH: Located near the Manatee Memorial Hospital for those who want to wander into the Manatee River.

For more events information, visit www.realizebradenton.com.

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