There’s so much to do in Manatee! Here’s 12 fun things
Are you ready for the weekend? Us too.
If you don’t have plans yet, we’re here to help.
Here’s your guide to weekend fun around Bradenton, Manatee County and Sarasota.
Fins and Fun Family Festival
A day of shark-themed fun at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium will include presentations and a live shark feeding, and shark experts will be at hand to separate fact from fiction.
The aquarium’s Shark Zone habitat is home to bonnethead, sandbar, nurse and blacknose sharks, plus Goliath grouper and other Florida game fish.
Fun fact: Mote is also home to the only Center for Shark Research recognized by the U.S. Congress.
Not-so-fun fact: Anyone overheard singing “Baby Shark” at the festival will be thrown into the shark tank. We’re kidding, of course.
Details: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. Festival included with admission. Ages 3-12: $18. Ages 13 and up: $24.
‘West Side Story’
Broadway masterpiece “West Side Story” will snap, whistle and twirl across the stage at Manatee Performing Arts Center this month.
The Manatee Players’ production will feature a youthful cast, colorful costumes and in-house set design that will transport you to the 1950’s streets of Manhattan where turf wars (and hormones) rage.
Details: Aug. 8-25. Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $27-$40.
Info: 941-748-5875. manateeperformingartscenter.com.
ArtCenter Manatee will hold a massive summer art sale this Saturday.
Paintings, sculpture, glass, wood, wearable jewelry, pottery and more creations by local artists will be available for purchase for reduced prices ranging from $10 to $100.
Details: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St. W., Bradenton.
Free train rides
The Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish takes visitors on a trip back in time to the days when locomotive transport was king.
Weekend train rides through rural Manatee County make for a fun family adventure, and there’s also lots to explore in the newly expanded museum.
Kids ride free in August.
Details: Trains leave at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Under 12: Free. Ages 12 and up: $14.
Info: 941-776-0906. frrm.org.
NEST Nature Days
On the second and fourth Saturday of every month, visitors are invited to a day of fun at The NEST (that’s Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology) at Robinson Preserve.
There, you can “walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world, explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panorama views and make an exciting exit from the building via slide.”
And after you’re done at The NEST, there’s a lot more nature to explore within the preserve.
Details: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Robinson Preserve, 10299 Ninth Ave. NW., Bradenton. Free.
Info: 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. mymanatee.org.
Marauders back in town
The Florida State League’s Bradenton Marauders are home at LECOM Park this weekend for a four-game series with the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Friday is “Bark in the Park” night; bring along your furry friend for an extra $5. Sunday is a family fun day with kids activities during and after the game.
Details: 6:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. LECOM Park, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Tickets range from $7-$12.
Live music highlights
Outshyne at Joyland
South Carolina country rockers Outshyne will make a two-night stop at Joyland Country Music Night Club in Bradenton this weekend.
The five-piece band has shared the stage with acts such as Keith Urban and Darius Rucker, and their 2014 hit “Moonlight Crush” made it to No. 1 on satellite radio.
Details: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Joyland Country Music Night Club, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton. $5-$7 cover.
Memphis Rub Band at Seafood Shack
Memphis Rub Band is a four-piece specializing in blues, R&B and rock and roll.
Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday. Seafood Shack, 4110 127th St. W., Cortez. No cover.
Smokey Daniels Band at Peggy’s Corral
The Smokey Daniels Band is a Bradenton-Sarasota outfit that plays country, Southern and classic rock and more.
Details: 9 p.m. Friday. Peggy’s Corral, 4511 U.S. 41, Palmetto. No cover.
Kat Crosby Band at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille
The Kat Crosby Band plays “sophisticated blues with “a hint of jazz and hot guitar.”
Details: 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton, 101 Riverwalk Blvd., Bradenton. No cover.
Truality at Blue Rooster
Every Sunday, Blue Rooster hosts a Gospel Brunch Buffet with Southern comfort food and live gospel music from Truality.
Truality is a Sarasota band that performs gospel music in all new ways, incorporating R&B, jazz, funk and Latin rhythm.
Details: 11:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Sunday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. No cover.