There’s so much to do in Manatee! Here’s 12 fun things
You can’t put a price on fun. But what if your limit was $5?
With thrift in mind, we assembled a list of some of the awesome things you can do around Bradenton with $5 or less.
Many of the things to do on this list are free, so save your fiver for gasoline (or a beer). You’re welcome.
ArtCenter Manatee hosts displays of local and regional artwork ranging from amateur to professional. Exhibits and opening night receptions are always free and open to the pubic.
Details: Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Escape the suburban doldrums with a jaunt into Robinson Preserve. The 682-acre preserve features nature and hiking trails, kayak and canoe launch points, an observation tower and limitless natural Florida beauty.
The preserve also offers a sunset tai chi class once a month for $5.
Details: Robinson Preserve is open 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily (hours vary be season). 1704 99th St. NW., Bradenton. Free.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
In contrast to the wild beauty of Robinson Nature Preserve, nearby Palma Sola Botanical Park offers vibrant and manicured displays of rare and unusual tropical plants. It’s a great place to see butterflies, too.
Details: Palma Sola Botanical Park is open 9800 17th Ave. NW., Bradenton. Free.
Cortez and the Florida Maritime Museum
Cortez is one of the only commercial fishing villages that remains unspoiled in the state of Florida, and for that alone it’s worth a visit. Colorful cottages and unhindered views of the water abound.
Also free: admission to the Florida Maritime Museum. The museum documents Floridians’ ancient relationship with the water through immersive exhibits and free history talks.
Details: The Florida Maritime Museum is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Free.
Visit the Ringling
“When John Ringling died, he left his estate and museum to the people of Florida, stipulating that his museum be free to the public one day of the week,” according to The Ringling.
That day is Monday, and it’s a great time to take in the sights and impressions of fine art on display at The Museum of Art.
It’s also always free to roam the 68 acres of grounds and gardens at The Ringling, as well as visit the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, a space displaying the museum’s studio glass collection.
Ringling Underground, an experimental after-hours art party held at the museum on the first Thursday of every month, is always free for college students with a student I.D.
Details: The Ringling is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; grounds open daily from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. Admission to the Museum of Art is always free on Mondays.
Bradenton Riverwalk is a great spot for a workout, a walk with a friend or somewhere to sit and think. It’s also a free outdoor museum of sorts, with public art displays scattered along the Manatee River waterfront.
Plans are underway to dramatically expand Riverwalk, so soon there will be even more to enjoy.
Details: Always open.
Bike to a state park
Manatee County has several beautiful state parks worth checking out, including Little Manatee River State Park and Myakka River State Park. Admission for bike riders or pedestrians tops out at $5.
Details: Admission is $2-$5 for pedestrians and bicyclists entering state parks.
Manatee Village Historical Park
Get a taste for the Florida pioneer life at Manatee Village Historical Park. Tour historic buildings like a general store and blacksmith shop, and check out artifacts that have a story to tell.
Details: Manatee Village Historical Park is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton. Free.