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 a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa Bay and beyond.
Are we missing a big event? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun for everyone
Local art in the spotlight: The Parrish Arts Council’s fourth annual Arts and Social will feature works by local artists, light refreshments and a chance to mingle with fellow art lovers.
The Council will honor the art departments of two local schools with an award of financial support.
Details: 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Palmetto Art Center, 907 Fifth St. W., Palmetto. Free.
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.
Marauders back in town: The Florida State League’s Bradenton Marauders are at LECOM Park this weekend for a three-game series with the Daytona Tortugas.
Saturday is fan appreciation night, featuring prize raffles and a postgame fireworks show. Sunday is a family fun day with kids activities during and after the game.
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. LECOM Park, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Tickets range from $7-$12.
Antiques, arts and crafts: The Mixon Fruit Farms monthly public fair features vendors of all kinds.
Add a ride on the Orange Blossom Tram; it’s $5 for kids and $10 for adults.
Details: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Mixon Fruit Farms, 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton. Free. mixon.com.
Dare to defy gravity: There’s a new trampoline park in town.
DEFY Bradenton is an extreme air sports park that invites thrill seekers of all ages to jump, leap, climb and soar within an indoor landscape of gymnastics equipment.
Details: Open seven days a week. DEFY Bradenton is at 7385 52nd Place E. in Bradenton. Entry ranges from $12-$32; memberships available.
Info: 941-900-4484. defy.com/bradenton.
Stand-up night at Motorworks Brewing: On Saturday, Motorworks Brewing will host a stand-up night featuring local and regional comedic talent.
Johnny B., star of the “Johnny B. Show” on 102.5 The Bone FM, will host; feature comedians Brad Gilmore and John J. Murray will open for headliner Steve Arik.
Arik’s stage credits include opening spots for Kiss, Prince and Sam Kinison.
Doors open at 8 p.m.
Details: 9-11 p.m. Saturday. Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. $14-$18. Ages 21 and up. Two-drink minimum. Advanced purchase recommended.
At the museum
Finding Florida: How did ancient species like giant ground sloths, manatees and armadillos make their way to Florida?
A month-long exhibit at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in Bradenton allows adventuresome visitors to get inside the heads of ancient creatures as they made choices that would shape the future of their species.
Explore what led some species to survive and others to die out in this fun and interactive exhibit.
Details: Through Sept. 1. Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton.
At the theater
Classic Shakespeare at The Ringling: The Historic Asolo Theater will screen a stunning performance of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” from the Stratford Festival’s 2018 season.
Based in Ontario, Canada, the Stratford Festival is North America’s largest classical repertory theater company.
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday. Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. $20.
Manhattan meets Manatee: This is last weekend to catch Broadway masterpiece “West Side Story” as it snaps, whistles and twirls across the stage at Manatee Performing Arts Center.
The Manatee Players’ production features 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: Through Sunday. Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $27-$40.
Info: 941-748-5875. manateeperformingartscenter.com.
NEST nature days: Every Saturday this month, visitors are invited to a day of fun at The NEST (that’s Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology) at Robinson Preserve.
There, park staff invite you to “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.
South Florida nature getaway: Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary began as a refuge for wading birds, but you can see all kinds of wildlife here.
Wild turkey, woodstorks, deer, black bears and the Florida panther are a few of the passersby known to make an appearance to visitors on the boardwalk.
Corkscrew is also home to an active “super” ghost orchid, which is the biggest specimen of its kind discovered to date. The tree-dwelling flower is one of the rarest in North America, and scientists are still making new discoveries about it — including a recent one that revealed which insects are responsible for its pollination.
Now is the time to go see the native wonder — the orchid only blooms for a few months each summer, and it currently has multiple flowers.
Travel Time: About 2 hours, 30 minutes each way.
Details: 375 Sanctuary Road W., Naples. Adults: $14. Children 6-18: $4.
Theme park fun
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Disney World is kicking off the haunting season early this year with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.
The after-hours celebration includes trick-or-treating, spooky eats and a Halloween-themed parade and fireworks show.
If you go, make sure to arrive at 4 p.m. (three hours before the party starts) for early admittance to get the best bang for your buck. Crowds are typically lighter during Disney’s holiday parties, so it’s a good chance to ride all the rides without the never-ending lines.
Details: 7 p.m.-midnight Friday. Magic Kingdom, 1180 Seven Seas Dr., Lake Buena Vista. $80-$85.
NEW IN TOWN — Lamantini Trattoria: Open since July 5, Lamantini Trattoria brings a modern touch to old-world Italian favorites in a friendly, cozy atmosphere.
Lamantini Trattoria is at 1830 59th St. W. in Bradenton.
DRINK THIS — Oktoberfest at Motorworks: Fall is right around the corner. (Cheers to that, right?) Fortunately, a new local beer is here to help you get into the autumnal spirit — because we all know the weather isn’t going to.
This year, Motorworks is paying tribute to a classic style of lager, called Märzen, for its Oktoberfest offering.
“With pleasant bready aromas and a medium body, this bright amber lager boasts a lightly toasted, malty sweetness that is complemented by a spicy hop character that balances its malt base and dries it out for a crisp finish,” the brewery says.
The beer is currently available on draft and in six-packs in the taproom, while supplies last.
Motorworks Brewing is at 1014 Ninth St. W. in Bradenton.
EAT THIS — Craft burger perfection at 3 Brewing and Eatery: The innovative burger offerings at 3 Keys Brewing and Eatery in Bradenton are guaranteed to be a culinary adventure and a reliably tasty accompaniment to any craft beer or cider.
Menu staples include the “Holy Guacamole! Burger” (topped with spicy guacamole and provolone), the “Bourbon Trail Burger” (topped with bourbon-bacon blue cheese sauce) and the “Bradentucky Burger” (topped with pulled pork and Kentucky beer cheese with IPA pickles on the side).
Better yet, they are sustainably-made using local beef that’s raised on grass and spent grains from the brewery.
Vegetarian options are also available.
3 Keys Brewing and Eatery is at 2505 Manatee Ave. E. in Bradenton.
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Live music highlights
Dillon Carmichael at Joyland: Dillon Carmichael is a rising star in country music.
The 25-year-old’s debut album was produced by Nashville institution Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band) and earned national critical acclaim.
Joyland is one of three Florida stops on Carmichael’s current U.S. tour.
Details: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Joyland Country Music Night Club, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton. Tickets: $10 advance; $15 day of show.
Jah Movement at Rodney’s Jamaican Grill: Jah Movement is an award-winning reggae band that performs throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The five-part group has crafted a genuine reggae sound that also incorporates the flavors of funk, soul and R&B.
Details: 9 p.m. Friday. Rodney’s Jamaican Grill, 814 Eighth Ave. W., Palmetto. $10.
Charlie Morris Band at Seafood Shack: The Charlie Morris Band plays skillful southern blues.
Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday. Seafood Shack, 4110 127th St. W., Cortez. No cover.
Ari and the Alibis at Blue Rooster: Ari and the Alibis have a funky fusion sound that combines jazz, blues, funk, soul and rock into a smooth sonic concoction.
Details: 8-11 p.m. Saturday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. $10. Info: blueroostersrq.com.
Klick Band at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille: Klick Band is a five-piece rock outfit inspired by the early rock and roll legends of the 1960s and ’70s.
Details: 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton, 101 Riverwalk Blvd., Bradenton. No cover.
Cahoots at JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe: Cahoots is a five-piece rock, blues, and funk band out of Bradenton playing a wide range of toe-tapping and dance tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Details: 7-10 p.m. Saturday. JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe, 987 South Packinghouse Rd., Sarasota. No cover.
Cadillac Cowboys at Peggy’s Corral: The Cadillac Cowboys is a five-piece band that “serves up a musical gumbo of western swing, Americana, zydeco and bluegrass.”
Details: Noon Sunday. Peggy’s Corral, 4511 U.S. 41, Palmetto. No cover.