Local Nature

Local nature

Around Anna Maria Island!

Local nature

Around Anna Maria Island!

Dolphin Tours

AMI Dolphin Tours

464 63rd St, Holmes Beach
 (941) 281-3461

Paradise Boat Tours

200 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach
(941) 465-8624

Go 2 Dolphins

402 Church Avenue Bradenton Beach
(941) 778-2288

Manatee Viewing Center

In cooler weather, manatees can be seen in large numbers in the power station’s discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the Bay. When Tampa Bay reaches 68 degrees or colder, the mammals seek out this refuge. Big Bend’s discharge canal is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals.

Inside the MVC’s environmental education building, colorful displays immerse you in the world of the manatee and its habitat. Others show how Big Bend Power Station generates electricity for the community in an environmentally responsible way. See some of the power station’s beneficially reusable byproducts. Inspect actual manatee bones and piece together puzzles. 

Outside, stroll among award-winning butterfly gardens and Florida-friendly landscaping. You also can see a variety of native and coastal plant life as you stroll along the center’s tidal walk. Catch a glimpse of animals in the wild that make the center’s habitat their home.

6990 Dickman Rd
Apollo Beach, FL 33572

Myakka State Park

You will always spot an alligator at Myakka State Park. One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state’s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. 

13208 State Road 72
Sarasota, FL 34241

Mote Marine & Aquarium

Meet the fish and the scientists at Mote Marine and Aquarium. The working aquarium gives you an up-close experience with a variety of marine animals and fish, including two touch tanks and a 135,000 gallon shark habitat. You can also witness the scientific research—as it happens—in viewable working laboratories.

Be sure to say “Hi” to some of the star residents like the manatees Hugh and Buffett, and the sea turtles Hang Tough, Harry, Shelley, Montego and Squirt 2. More than 100 species of marine life call Mote their home, and you are more than welcome to meet them all.

Mote Aquarium is proud to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and has met rigorous, professional standards for animal care, wildlife conservation and research, education and more.

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236

Leffis Key

Leffis Key is located on the south end of Anna Maria Island opposite Cortez Beach. Leffis Key has a prominent hill where one can get a panoramic view of beautiful Sarasota Bay.

Once a spoil island overgrown with non-native plants that greatly reduced its habitat value, Leffis Key is now a shining example of how government and private interests can collaborate to restore and enhance vital saltwater wetlands, essential to the health of a nationally significant estuary.

One of the unique features of the design is a 26-foot high hill in the center of the restored area. This upland feature offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The hill was planted with native dune and coastal ridge plants such as sea oats, beach elder, dune sunflower, southern red cedar, green buttonwood, sea grape, gumbo-limbo, Hercules’ club, Jamaica dogwood and strangler fig. In addition, over 20,000 marsh grass plants, such as smooth cordgrass, saltwater cordgrass and salt jointgrass, were installed along the banks of the tidal ponds. The plant installation was accomplished with volunteer labor that included hundreds of school children, local environmental clubs and citizens.

2351 Gulf Drive South
Bradenton Beach, FL, 34217

Experience a SeaBreeze vacation for your family