OUTDOORS: Fun things to do


Friends of Myakka “Nature Adventure” Classes: Myakka River State Park, Sarasota

The friends of Myakka River State Park will kick off their sixth annual “Nature Adventure” series with new classes and the return of their most popular programs: Introduction to the Stars, 7-9 p.m. Jan. 23. Myakka Fishing Hotspots, 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 31. A Canoe/Kayak Adventure on the Myakka River will be 10 a.m. Feb. 4 with Ranger John Chassey. Moonlight on the Prairie takes the participant in the back of a four-wheel drive truck on a leisurely trip 7-10 p.m. Feb. 4. This trip will include some star gazing, spider watching, owl spotting and ghost stories to culminate with hot chocolate, snacks and a fire in the log pavilion. The trip is limited to 12 persons. Participants are recommended to bring water and a insect repellent. Fees for classes range from $10-$80 and 100 percent of funds collected will be contributed to the “Myakka Forever” Endowment Fund. Anyone singing up for three or more classes will automatically become a member of the Friends of Myakka River (a $25 value). The $5 per car park entrance fee will be waived for all Nature Adventure participants. Class sizes are limited. Reservations: 316-8139 or e-mail gallery@myakkariver.org.

“Honeybees” Lecture and Tour: Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Sarasota

Local Beekeeper Victor Lorand will lead an informative session on the history of the honeybee 1-2 p.m. Jan. 24 and will discuss the current problems including Colony Collapse Disorder and hobbyist beekeeping in Florida and will join participants to the Crowley Museum’s own beehives for a visit. Admission: $16 adults, $10 per child, $9 members. Reservations are required. Information: 322-1000, e-mail: cmncpd@aol.com or visit www.cmnfl.org.

Kayak trip: Blackburn Point at Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey

Learn about natural Florida on a kayak trip led by John Sarkozy of the American Littoral Society 1-4:30 p.m. Jan. 24. All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary. Cost: $20 members, $25 nonmembers. Reservations are required. Information: 966-7308.

Nocturnal Walk: Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Sarasota

The Crowley Museum and Nature Center and Wildlife Services of Florida invites the public to take a walk under the full moon’s light to see what goes hoot in the night beginning at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24. The program is suitable for all ages. Admission: $16 adults, $10 per child, $9 members. Reservations are required. Information: 322-1000, e-mail: cmncpd@aol.com or visit www.cmnfl.org.

Nature Walk: Carlton Reserve, Sarasota

Join the Manatee-Sierra Club on a 4-6 mile walk starting at 8 a.m. Jan. 24. Participant are requested to wear sturdy shoes and bring water and lunch. Donation: $5. For reservations, contact Sally at 484-4113.

Kayak trip: Shell Key Preserve, Hillsborough County

Join the Manatee-Sierra Club on a leisurely kayak paddle beginning at noon Jan. 25 at one of the west coast’s premier sanctuaries for migrating birds north of the Skyway Bridge. Donation: $5. For reservations, contact Don Kirkley at 493-3085.


Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary: 20010 East S.R. 64, Bradenton

Horseback riding is being offered by Napier’s Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary. No experience is necessary. Hours are by appointment. Donation: $25 per person. All proceeds going to house and feed the animals at the Sanctuary. Information: 750-8185 or visit www.NapierFamilyFarm.com.


Emerson Point Preserve Nature Tours: Emerson Point Preserve, Snead Island

Master Gardeners will conduct free tours at 9 a.m. on at least one Saturday and one Sunday each month. Tours are limited to 12 people and reservations must be made through the Master Gardener office. A portion of the tour is handicap accessible. The office is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Information: 722-4524.

Sarasota Bay Explorers: Mote Aquarium on City Island, Sarasota

Now offering a new eco-tour, Nature Safari, with in-depth looks into the ecosystems of southwest Florida. View bird nests and watch for creatures of the bay. Cruises run daily at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. Regular tour rate is $26 adults, $22 children ages 4-12. Aquarium admission not included. Information: 388-4200.

Walk on the Wild Side Eco-Tours: 629 41st St., Sarasota

Guided canoeing, kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing tours throughout west central Florida. Half-day, full-day, moonlight and overnight trips. Tours start at $30 per person and are available 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Information: 351-6500.


Manatee Segway Tours: Downtown Bradenton

Manatee Segway Tours takes visitors on a 1-2.5 hour tours on the riverfront and beyond in Bradenton. Snack and drink provided. Tour tickets start at $35. Information: www.manateesegwaytours.com or call 224-8079.

Florida Ever-Glides: The Ritz Carlton, Sarasota

Segway Tours of downtown Sarasota and through St. Armands Circle are offered by Florida Ever-Glides Inc. A Segway, the world’s first and only self-balancing electric transport system, allows riders to go anywhere they can walk and easily navigates most areas, including paved surfaces, dirt roads, grass, and inclines. The three-hour guided tours are $85 a person and is limited to six riders to ensure an interactive and personalized experience. Tours are offered daily 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Ages 12-70-plus are welcome. Reservations are required. Information: 363-9556 or visit www.floridaever-glides.com.


Bradenton Runners Club: Various locations

The Bradenton Runners Club invites walkers, joggers, and runners of all paces to attend events Tuesday-Sunday at various locations throughout the area. For information on times, dates, and places, call 792-7930 or visit www.bradentonrunnersclub.com.

Running group: Various locations

The Sarasota Hash House Harriers, a running group, meets every other Saturday in a different location. Information on time, date and location of runs: 751-9035 or Web site, www.geocities.com/sarasota_hash.


EAA-180 Young Eagle flights: 8989 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Chapter EAA-180, Phillips Aviation Fuel and Dolphin Aviation sponsors Young Eagle flights for kids ages 8-17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month. A parent or guardian must accompany the child to sign a release. Cost: free. Information: 729-3010.


Adventure Cruising & Sailing School: 2201 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg

“Ladies Let’s Go Sailing!” is a one-day or two-evening introduction to sailing on a 28-foot boat. The course is taught by a female instructor who has crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Cost: $95. Information: (727) 204-8850.

Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures: Bradenton/Sarasota area

Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures offers trips to Anna Maria, Braden River, Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, Don Pedro Island, Egmont Key, Fisheating Creek, Hillsborough River, Little Manatee River, Longboat Key, Myakka River, Peace River, Rainbow Springs, Siesta Key/Turtle Beach and South Lido Beach. Rentals and lessons also available. Information: 504-6296 or kayakfl.com.

Beach Bum Billy’s: 427 Pine Ave., Anna Maria

Charter or rent a boat at Beach Bum Billy’s. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Information: 778-3316.

Captain Kim’s Boat Rides and Charters: 12306 46th Ave. W., Cortez

Sightseeing eco-tours, historic rides, fishing charter reservations, sunbathing tips, picnic trips, island hopping. Rides $15 per person. Information: 920-3307.

Capt. Mark’s Charters at the Cortez Kitchen: 4528 119th St. W., Cortez

Boat rides and dolphin cruises daily. Take the whole family on a cruise visiting sandbars or see the dolphins at sunset. Take the water taxi and stop at Bridge Street or the Mar Vista Restaurant or stay aboard and watch the sunset, or join us on the beach for some great shelling. Half-day charters for picnics are available on select days for office parties or family outings; our boat is equipped with a bathroom and gas grill. Cruises start at 6 p.m., Friday-Sunday 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Cost: $20 per person; no charge for kids under 3. Call for times and reservations: 228-3504 or www.captmarkscharters.com.

Freedom Boat Club: 1000 First St. W., Suite B

Club offers use of 30 boats of various sizes, and members have unlimited use of boats. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., daily. Information: 714-0673 or 922-1292.

Gondola rides: Kane’s Plaza at Philippi Creek

Gondola rides available every day for lunch, sunset and evening by reservation. Reservations and details: 954-1051.

Hughy’s Kayak Rentals and Tours: 12507 Cortez Road

Explore the bay area of historic Cortez and Anna Maria Island on a kayak. Rent a kayak and explore on your own or take our guided eco-tour that allows you to get up close to dolphins, manatees and many types of sea birds and sea life. Tours daily during the summer and weekends during fall and winter. Information and reservations: 321-0233.

Manatee River Boat Tours: Manatee River, Manatee County

Manatee River Boat Tours is offering boat trips daily. Boat tour times vary and each tour lasts approximately one hour and capacity is a maximum of six people. Tours are $20 per person and reservations are required 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information: 721-4230 or visit www.manateeriverboattours.com.

Manatee Sailing Association: Various locations in Bradenton

The Manatee Sailing Association is a club with programs to give members information, experience, and events for fun and safe boating. The MSA meets the second Tuesday of each month. For membership information call Sandee at 729-3573.

Native Rentals: 5416 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach

Free kayak eco-tours and dealer tryouts, 9-2 p.m., every Saturday this summer through Perico Estuary located at the North East base of the Manatee bridge. No experience necessary, kids welcomed! We provide kayaks and all gear. Free for the first half-hour and only $10/hour extensions and is deductible from kayak purchase. Information: 778-7757.

Oak Haven River Retreat: 12143 Riverhills Drive, Tampa

Oak Haven River Retreat offers guided sunrise canoe/kayak tours 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturdays. Experience the excitement of an early morning paddle along the river, surrounded by majestic cypress trees and shaded oak hammocks as you enter into 16,000 acres of parks and wilderness areas. Canoe and kayak rentals are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Rentals are available by the hour, half-day or full-day. Rates per canoe/kayak: $12 per hour; $28 per half-day and $38 per full-day. Information: (813) 988-4580 or www.oakhavenriverretreat.com.

Ray’s Canoe Hideaway: 1247 Hagle Park Road, Bradenton

Canoe or kayak the Upper Manatee River. Enjoy paddling, picnicking, swimming and the scenery. Rentals are $23-$35 per boat. Half- or full-day rentals are available. Hours: Open dawn to dusk six days a week. Closed Wednesdays. Information: 747-3909.

Schooner/kayak: Seafood Shack Marina, Cortez

Sail the Gulf aboard a sleek and stable catamaran or Tallship Schooner. Dolphin sails, sunset sails, Egmont Key, overnight adventures and more. Information and prices: 761-4779. Nature tours are given by sailboat or kayak to remote mangrove islands or take a day on Egmont Key. Reservations and prices: 713-8000.

Waves Boat and Social Club: 4110 127th St. W., Cortez

Waves is a customer focused boat club offering the unlimited use of a brand new fleet of boats as well as a full social calendar packed with fun things to do. With two convenient locations in Bradenton and Sarasota. For more information and a tour call 795-1600 or visit www.wavesboatclub.com.