There are plenty of things to do and attractions in the Bradenton-Sarasota area. From seeing fish at Mote Aquarium, to seeing alligators at Myakka State Park, to witnessing manatees at the South Florida Museum, there are a wide variety of things to do in the area. In addition, if you are willing to go on more of a drive, you can visit some of the world’s best amusement parks right here in Florida, such as Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld!

Babcock/Webb Wildlife Area

The 79,013-acres of land at Babcock/Web Wildlife Area is surrounded by residential development, citrus groves, and improved pasture, Babcock-Webb is among the last undeveloped expanses of hydric (wet) pine flatwoods in southwest Florida.  Address: Charlotte County near Punta Gorda and Ft. Myers. From I-75, take exit 158 east 1/4 mile to the entrance; Yucca Pens Unit : From I-75, take exit 158 west to US 41 south 7 mile to Zemel Road, turn west 2.5 miles to the entrance. Charlotte, FL  Website: www.myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/fred-babcockwebb

Busch Gardens

Thrill seekers of all kinds will be more than satisfied by this African safari-themed amusement park. Kids who love speeding, twisting, stomach-churning roller coasters can get their fill on their world class roller coasters. For those whose hearts race at the sight of wild animals, they will be amazed by the creatures in the Serengeti Plain, Myombe Reserve, and Edge of Africa.  Address: 10001 N Mckinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612 Phone: 813-987-5600 Website: http://buschgardens.com/bg/

Crowley Museum and Nature Center

Crowley Museum and Nature Center (CMNC) is located on 190 acres of native Florida land adjacent to the Myakka River in Sarasota County. The Center is a wildlife sanctuary and education center where visitors can enjoy nature trails, a boardwalk traversing Maple Branch Swamp, an observation tower overlooking the marsh and Myakka River, a pioneer cabin and museum, a working blacksmith shop and sugar cane mill, and a restored 1892 “Cracker” house. The trails are well maintained, and many are handicapped accessible. Address: 16405 Myakka Rd. Sarasota, FL, 34240 Phone: 941-322-1000 Email: Crowleymuseum@aol.com Website: http://www.crowleymuseumnaturectr.org/

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is a world renowned amusement park and resort right here in Florida. It is filled with 6 different parks, including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Typhoon Lagoon,  Animal Kingdom, Holywood Studios, and Blizzard Beach. When you go to Disney, one thing you can count on is having a great time!  Address: 1251 Riverside Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830  Phone: 407-828-3453 Website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Historic Spanish Point

Sarasota County’s premier environmental, archaeological and historic site featuring pioneer homestead, nature trails and exhibits. Address: 337 N. Tamiami Trl., Osprey, FL 34229 Phone: 941-966-5214 Fax: 941-966-1355 Email: diane@historicspanishpoint.org Website: http://www.historicspanishpoint.org

Manatee Audubon Society

Open to anyone interested in birding, wildlife watching or exploring Florida’s natural areas. Information on Special trips and activities. Address: 1402 Manatee Ave Bradenton, FL 34280 Email: manateeaudubon@yahoo.com Website: http://www.manateeaudubon.org/

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids. Selby’s 8.5 bay front acres are an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 colorful plants, many collected in the wild on more than 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by the Garden’s Research and Conservation Department. Of special note are the Tropical Display House with its “Riches of the Rain Forest” exhibit featuring thousands of exotic plants from around the world, and the Museum with rotating exhibits of 18th, 19th and 20th century botanical illustrations. Address: 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236 Phone: 941-366-5730 Fax: 941-366-9807 Email: contactus@selby.org Website: http://www.selby.org/

Mote Aquarium

Get up close and personal with local sea creatures at Mote Aquarium. The Aquarium is home to more than 200 varieties of fish and
invertebrates of the sea. Visit Hugh and Buffett, two West Indian manatees, along with several sea turtles at the Marine Mammal Center. Join the interactive marine adventure in our new Immersion Theater and become a shark in the Sea Cinema. Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota FL 34236 Phone: 941-388-4441 Fax: 941-388-4242 Email: charwood@mote.org Website: http://www.mote.org/

Myakka River State Park

The “Florida Wild and Scenic” Myakka River flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. The river and its two shallow lakes attract a myriad of wetland creatures making birding, canoeing, fishing and wildlife observation popular activities. Address: 13207 S.R. 72, Sarasota, Florida 34241 Phone: 941-361-6511 Contact: Jon Robinson, park manager Website: http://www.floridastateparks.org/myakkariver/

Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary

Florida’s largest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, the sanctuary is educational fun for the whole family. Programs include tours, videos and animal encounters. A visual treat with lush tropical landscaping, fountains and spacious habitats. Address: 1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236 Phone: 941-388-4444 Fax: 941-388-3258 Contact: Dale Shields, Pelican Man Email: pelicanmans@aol.org Website: http://www.pelicanman.org

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Built in 1952, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum (SCCM) opened its doors to the public in February of 1953. Although the SCCM has changed ownership over the years it has operated continuously and now enjoys the recognition of being one of the oldest car museums in the world. Address: 5500 Tamiami Trail North, Sarasota, FL 34243 Phone: 941-355-6228 Fax: 941-358-8065 Email: info@sarasotacarmuseum.org Website: http://www.sarasotacarmuseum.org

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Go wild at the area’s only zoological gardens. Pose with a parrot, hand-feed flamingos, view animal exhibits and lovely plant life as you explore jungle trails. Educational shows five times a day. Address: 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34234 Phone: 941-355-5305 Fax: 941-355-1222 Email: s.sarasotajg@verizon.net Website: http://www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

SeaWorld

When you visit SeaWorld Orlando, the awe-inspiring power and beauty of the sea is everywhere. Get up-close to all of its mesmerizing creatures – gentle manatees, graceful dolphins, playful penguins, fascinating sharks and so much more. From the tiniest starfish to the ocean’s biggest star, Shamu, SeaWorld is alive with the ocean’s wonders.  Address: 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, FL 32821  Phone: 1-888-800-5447  Email: VacationReservation@SeaWorld.com Web site: http://www.seaworld.com/

South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium

Florida’s natural and cultural history: mastodon skeleton, dioramas, Smilodon, maritime exhibits, 16th century Spanish chapel replica, 60,000-gallon manatee aquarium, home of Snooty. Address: 201 – 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34206 Phone: 941-746-4131 Fax: 941-747-2556 Email: info@southfloridamuseum.org Website: http://www.southfloridamuseum.org

The Legacy Trail

A smooth paved track of 10.6 miles from Sarasota to Venice, following the former CSX railroad corridor. There are many access points to the trail, which is great for walking, biking, skating, or just enjoying nature.  Access Points: Potter Park, Bay Street Park, Oscar Scherer State Park, Laurel Park, Nokomis Community Park, Patriots Park, Venice Train Depot Phone: 941-861-5000  Website: http://www.legacytrailfriends.org/