Attend South Florida Museum’s family night!
Now, this is only an option the first Saturday of the month–but, it’s one of the best Saturdays nights our family has had in a while. And did I mention it’s half price after 5pm?
The South Florida Museum is in downtown Bradenton and is home to Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity. Learn about local history, as well as Florida’s archaeological and paleontological past. They have tons of local memorabilia and artifacts that you just won’t find anywhere else. The museum incorporates sound and video into many exhibits and did a great job of varying the height of displays–which is perfect for children. The entire museum is spiffed up, compared to years past, and the displays and exhibits are quite modern.
I’ve been there many a time, but never had a visit as enjoyable as this with Snooty the Manatee. Snooty was a real ham, making noises and gestures and practically crawling out of the tank. Perhaps we were lucky or he’s just frisky on Saturday nights–but the manatee presentation was extra fun this time around. The presenter for the manatee show was informative and very good with questions. We went away having learned quite a bit about manatees.
The current rotating exhibit is about Silver Springs and the photos of Bruce Mozert. It looks like that exhibit is about to change–so maybe the next family night will have something new. But we really liked the old pictures of Silver Springs and especially enjoyed the up-close look at the equipment Mr. Mozert used.
In addition to the regular parts of the museum, they opened up the planetarium for star talks and a rock-n-roll laser show. These are real treats. Right before you go into the planetarium they have craft stations for the little ones, which really spices up this Saturday night adventure. Since it was mermaid night this time, you could get your picture taken with a mermaid. I saw dads and kids alike take part in this photo session. 🙂
Why not give it a try? Learn more about the specifics at: http://www.southfloridamuseum.org/ThingsToDo/FamilyNights.aspx.
So this year I made it a point to go to the DeSoto Grand Parade in Bradenton, Florida. We found a spot near downtown, so we were near the end of the route. What a spectacle! This was an awesome parade. The weather was breezy and cool, which really made the event more fun.
Held every year for almost 70 years, this parade is in the running to rival the Gasparilla Parade in Tampa. I took lots of photos but thought I’d direct you over to the Desoto Historical Society‘s site and to the Bradenton Herald’s website which has stories and pictures for the event. It’s hard to capture the atmosphere of the event without being there or without video but it’s a loud, exuberant, fun parade and crowd. Loud music, beads, and dancing folks abound on the floats and in the streets. They have cool giveaways like beach balls, beads, hats, and candy. The kids had a blast trying to catch all this fun stuff. There are old cars used in the parades that are pretty fun too.
They also have a children’s version of the parade which I didn’t attend. But I’ve heard that parade is perfect for little ones. The night parade went pretty late, but I thought it was pretty family friendly over all.
The DeSoto Historical Society has lots of fun events, like the Seafood Festival, throughout the year. One of the coolest parts is that they dress up like Conquistadors. In the past I’ve seen them at the annual Easter egg hunt at GT Bray with the Easter bunny. It was pretty cool to have the Easter Bunny arrive on their big boat and then kick off the egg hunt. It’s pretty unique.
If you like parades and a fun time, head on down to the DeSoto Grand Parade next year!
This weekend I discovered Jiggs Landing in Manatee County in Florida. It’s off of SR 70 near Linger Lodge. It’s a beautiful area dominated by facilities that are of interest to boaters, kayakers, fishing enthusiasts, and nature lovers. The breeze is fantastic. I couldn’t say enough how nice the breeze is there.
The facilities are all new and the manicured area was really nice for our children. They have a small playground and a few picnic tables which make for a nice picnic area. If you are looking for a place to launch your small watercraft, this looks like the place to go. The boardwalk around the water is perfect for little visitors. There are new cabins that they will soon rent out and there are shower and bathroom facilities ready for those visitors. There were boaters and fishermen and families all over. I even saw someone quilting under the covered area while her husband watched the water. It’s perfect for any small outing.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about our visit was the sighting of two small alligators! I’ve never seen such small ones in the wild.
Here is the county website for more information: http://www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/natural-resources/resource-management/jiggs-landing.html