We have all been there. Out on a family vacation, dad is on his last nerve, mom is trying desperately to keep the family together. It’s a mad house, is really what’s going on. But it was important to have this road trip, sure you are out of your gourd now, but the commitment has been made and you’ve only been on the road a few hours. The time has come for an activity for the whole family, if only to have a moment’s respite. That, dear reader, is where Bradenton, Florida can come to the rescue. Here are five of the best things families can do together in this small community.
This field has quickly become one of the most exceptional facilities in the arena of professional baseball. Boasting state-of-the-art features including a boardwalk barbeque area, party deck and an enlarged fan plaza. What may only be a quick road trip stop could be a destination during spring training. The field is home of the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training, and fans flock from around the country to watch their favorite players prep for the upcoming season.
PALMA SOLA BOTANICAL PARK
Home to a wide variety of flowering and fruit trees, this 10-acre botanical park is truly a site to behold. Host to children’s playgrounds, picnic pavilions and lakes, this location makes for a wonderful rest stop for any family road trip situation. Made better, it is light on the family budget, being free to the public. Come and enjoy the natural beauty that Florida has to offer.
TREEUMPH! ADVENTURE COURSE
While Florida’s only elevated adventure course is more of a full day of fun rather than a quick rest stop, it is a destination that provides fun for the whole family. Time at TreeUmph! needs to be scheduled in advance but provides a full day of activities to drain the energy of hyperactive children of all ages. Courses include wobbly bridges, bungee swings, Tarzan ropes, zip lines and much more. It is well worth a family road trip to pretend to be Tarzan for just one day.
SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM AND BISHOP PLANETARIUM
While quite a mouthful, and certainly not something to try to say five-times fast, the museum is the largest natural and cultural history collection on Florida’s Gulf Coast. With permanent exhibits and constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions, there is always something new on each visit. As a bonus, which makings fitting this trip into the family budget a little easier, the museum also features the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater, the Gulf Coast’s premier astronomy facility and Parker Manatee Aquarium. The manatee aquarium provides care for injured and orphaned manatee who will be returned to the wild.
PASSAGE KEY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Another free stop to fit into the family road trip schedule, this 30-acre barrier island serves as a wildlife refuge. Home to brown pelicans, sandwich terns, oystercatchers, and a breeding ground for local birds. Unfortunately, it has suffered from shoaling in recent years, and is little more than a sandbar at hightide. It is still well worth a visit to witness nature’s beauty first hand.