A Visit to The Florida Aquarium

On a recent family trip to Tampa we visited the popular Florida Aquarium. This aquarium is spacious and very well laid out. We were greeted by a host of volunteers and provided with a map of the venue as well as a list of animal showtimes and appearances for the day. There are markers along the way listing interesting facts to keep you entertained from the moment you arrive.

Just a one hour drive from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217

We started at Florida Wetlands Trail, home to free flying birds, otters, turtles and alligators. Filled with Ring-tailed Lemurs, hissing cockroaches, and colorful chameleons, this exhibit captures the unique Island of Madagascar and the diverse animals that call it home. We were amazed at the variety of birds that were showcased in this area. The educational boards throughout were awesome telling us what kind of birds we were looking at with a list of facts about each one.

On the second floor of the Wetlands gallery is the Journey to Madagascar. In this area you will see ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons, geckos, cockroaches and a colourful Indian Ocean reef.  I was feeling brave and crawled into a small dark alcove inside a tree to hear hissing cockroaches, a rather cool thing to do. We learned a lot from the educational displays in this area. I didn’t know that 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals are exclusive to that country only.

Next was Bays and Beaches which features a 300 pound Goliath Grouper, spiny lobsters, and species that are home to Tampa Bay. The awesome Stingray Beach allowed us to touch stingrays and sharks. I was surprised that their skin felt firm and extremely slick. Stingray Beach is also home to penguins. The aquarium does have a few African Penguins, but they are not currently on exhibit. You can still see one by attending a daily “penguin talk” held at specific times, or get up close and personal by registering for an encounter with one.

We all agreed The Coral Reef Gallery was the most impressive exhibit. The 500,000 gallon tank with viewing windows and a walk-through tunnel giving you the illusion you are in underwater depths. It is full of coral tunnels and caves, reef fish, eels, sand tiger sharks, barracudas, green sea turtles and dozens of other exotic fish and sea animals. At the Coral Reefs, you truly get to examine sea life’s natural habitat and the lighting and colourful displays were fantastic. South African penguins make appearances in the Coral Reef Gallery. For an additional cost, you can purchase Penguins: Backstage Pass, a 30 minute long encounter where you will get an up-close look at the daily lives of , these cute little creatures.

Ocean Commotion offers virtual dolphins and whales, multimedia displays and presentations This area is home to tons of jellies, octopus and tiny fish. Each tank has a plaque giving descriptions of the plant and animal found inside along with facts about their lifestyle. For those who enjoy aquatic life, this is the exhibit for you!

No Bones Zone is a unique presentation of unusual creatures with no backbone such as sea stars (formerly known as star fish) and sea cucumbers. This touch and learn area is designed for the young marine enthusiast with low tanks and lots of hands-on opportunities, but enjoyed by all ages.

Make sure you bring swimsuits and water shoes for the kiddies at Explore-a-Shore, a two acre outdoor waterpark. There is plenty of seating for parents as well as beverages to enjoy while you watch your littles. You can have lunch at the Caribbean Cantina, a full service bar and grill or the Café Ray that serves a variety of delicious looking food. The Aquarium gift shop contains a wide variety souvenirs for purchase and best of all, their prices were affordable.

There are some others thing to do, for an additional fee, like Wild Dolphin Cruise, Close up with Critters, and Behind the Scenes Tours as well as Swim and Dive Programs. Check the Florida Aquarium  website for more information.

Overall, this is a wonderful aquarium. An amazing and educational experience. A great way to spend the day!

(There is often is a Groupon deal available so if you are planning to go, check out Groupon first! It doesn’t allow you to purchase the same day passes so make sure you plan ahead.)

For the latest up to date news, things to do, events, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


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Island Players Live Theatre-Anna Maria Island

Come out for a fun night at the Theatre – don’t be disappointed, buy your tickets now!

THE CURIOUS SAVAGE ~ by: John Patrick

Directed by: Kelly Wynn Woodland

March 8 – 25, 2018
 
Where – The Island Players, Inc.
Phone:941 778-5755  
Just a short trolley ride from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217 
The Curious Savage, written by John Patrick, is a comedic play about Ethel P. Savage, an elderly woman whose husband recently died and left her approximately ten million dollars.
Primarily a comedy, the play sets up a contrast between the sanatorium inmates and Mrs. Savage’s stepchildren. By the end of the play, the viewer wonders who the crazy ones really are. Mrs. Savage, played expertly by Nancy B. Jensen arrives to meet the people at “The Cloisters.” She immediately finds these people delightful, and instinctively realizes not only their ‘issues’, but the beauty within each person.
The story … Mrs. Ethel Savage’s grownup stepchildren are trying to get their hands on the money their father left his eccentric wife. They soon realize they cannot get control of the funds and commit her to a sanatorium until she reveals what she has done with the money. She is determined to use her money for others good and plans to set up a fund to help people realize their hopes and dreams. Some might find the residents are mentally ill, social misfits, men and women that can not adjust to life, but Mrs. Savage finds them sweet, delightful human beings. Mrs. Savage finds happiness with these residents and plans to spend the rest of her life with them, helping them. When the Doctor tells her there is no need for her to remain there she is reluctant to go back to a world where others will do anything for money. During the play you will see the vast contrast between the sanatorium residents and Mrs. Savage’s step-children, but by the end of the play you will wonder who the “crazy”ones really are. With a calm composure Mrs. Savage leads her step-children on a chase as her friends conspire to get rid of them. Together, Mrs. Savage carries out her plan. A farewell party is a delightful fantasy for each resident and will leave the audience feeling that all kindness hasn’t been lost in a world sometimes motivated by greed.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see this timeless comedy. It will capture your heart. Add a little laughter to your life — come out to see The Island Players presentation of The Curious Savage.

Some helpful information about The Island Players Theatre  …

Founded in 1949, The Island Players, Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing artistic experiences for the communities of Anna Maria Island through the presentation of stage productions.

The Island Players Theatre is located in the Old Community House on the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria on the North end of Anna Maria Island.

There are 137 seats in the theatre in tiered rows (stadium seating). There are 4 chairs on the right side of the theatre and 2 chairs on the “fireplace” side, giving a total seating capacity of 143.

Tickets are $20 (US) per performance for season’s five primary plays.

Food and beverages not allowed in the theatre.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the Box Office

or

by phone – (941) 778-5755

Regular show performances are: Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm Sunday matinees @ 2:00 pm

*Additional information available on their website —  theislandplayers.org

For the latest up to date news, events, things to do, special offer and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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First Sarasota-Bradenton EARTH FARE Grocery Store to open Jan. 27, 2018

Earth Fare, founded in 1975 in Asheville, N.C. will open its newest store January 27, 2018 in The Green shopping centre at Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The shopping centre is located on the northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70 East.
Just a short drive south along the Gulf of Mexico from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217.
Earth Fare is passionate about clean foods and the connection to their shopper’s healthy, longer lives. They pride themselves on providing healthy food choices that are easy and enjoyable.
Earth Fare will join other Manatee/Sarasota boutique-style markets like Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and Whole Foods.
The 23,500 square foot store wont be selling just groceries, will feature Earth Fare’s Heirloom Organic Café and Juice Bar. Enjoy, coffee, smoothies and juices at their Cafe/Juice Bar.
I have shopped at a couple of Earth Fare stores in other states and in both stores the aisles were filled with foods with no additives, hormones, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners under any name, bleached or bromated flours, transfats, or artificial colours and their selections were amazing.
The fresh fish counters featured excellent choices at reasonable prices and we have enjoyed their shrimp, cod, snapper, tuna, and crab cakes… including gluten free versions.
Their meat departments were extensive areas with many tempting offerings in various cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sausages. I have also visited the olive bar and bought assorted olives and pickled mushrooms adding tasty treats to our meals.
The bakery, amazing, I love the carrot cake varieties! The breads, so many varieties, all tempting as well.
As for the deli case – I am prisoner to their various potato salads, so far the herb style being my favourite. The cranberry-almond chicken salad and tuna salad were delicious. They had a super choice of lunch meats and cheeses galore which were not loaded with nitrates and salt!

On another trip I headed straight to the fresh food court where you can have salads, sushi made in front of you, sandwiches pre-made or made fresh for you, along with pizza ( including gluten free pizza) and soups or hot dishes of various varieties. This area appeared successful as there was a crowd there with many people eating in the tabled area provided. A great store to people watch, I saw many running in to get fresh meals to go.The stores I have shopped in have been so clean and service oriented, I think Earth Fare it is sure to be a growing success.

I look forward to shopping at their new Bradenton-Sarasota store.
For the latest up to date news, events, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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WATER TAXI SERVICE DELAYED, BUT COMING SOON …

In October Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217 wrote, The Sarasota Bradenton Ferry water taxi service will be launching in early 2018. It has now been announced the project has been delayed. We anticipate the launch will take place mid 2018 and promise to keep you updated.

The service will connect downtown Sarasota and downtown Bradenton to Bradenton Beach. The drive between Sarasota and Bradenton Beach (Anna Maria Island) can take approximately 40 minutes without traffic, but the commute by water is expected to take just 28 minutes. With the approval by all three cities in 2017, Captain Sherman Baldwin, owner of Paradise Boat Tours in Bradenton is ready to provide this innovative service. Unfortunately, a Bradenton Beach floating dock is delaying this long-awaited water taxi service.

Sarasota Bradenton Ferry is all ready to launch its 149-passenger high speed catamaran. The docks from the 10th Street Pier at Centennial Park in downtown Sarasota and the Bradenton Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton have been secured. The installation of the Bradenton Beach floating dock to unload and load passengers at the Historic Bridge Street Pier is the only thing holding the project back. Lenders will not release the ferry until all three docks are cleared for use. So until Bradenton Beach gets its dock in place this service is docked so to speak.

The Bradenton Beach dock contractor, Technomarine were to begin work in September 2017, butte active  hurricane season put them behind. We were in Bradenton Beach when Hurricane Irma swept through the area which gives us a better understanding of the delay. Installation of the dock is now scheduled for February 2018.

This long term project becoming a longer term project has work commuters, locals and tourists waiting a little longer. One thing we are sure of is that this long-awaited water taxi service will be worth the wait.

For the latest up to date news, events, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


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A Huge Thank You To Judy & Jerome For Their Awesome Review!!!!

Don’t come here, I want it all to myself.
Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL, 34217, United States
Well obviously we liked it well enough to rebook after two days at home. We have rented a lot of properties both here and in Europe, and I must say that this was the most well equipped of any we have ever had. The kitchen is beautifully done, with high quality cabinets, new appliances and about all the equipment you would need. I had a chuckle when in the description, Terry said that if there was some special utensil you needed, bring it from home. I don’t think so, though I only cooked two meals while I was there. The condo is very comfortable, the beds are Terrific!! and the sofas in the living room are great to curl up on. And there is more storage space than we have at our own condo! We were there 10 days, and we saw 9 glorious sunsets. Try to beat that! Aside from the great accommodations, the main reason we are re-upping is the location. It truly can’t be beat, especially if you are managing without a car which we were and will be. There are at least 4 don’t miss restaurants (I am a foodie) and several others where you can catch a decent lunch or dinner without breaking the bank. And the AMI trolley stops outside your front door. And Bridge Street is six short blocks away for fun shopping, nothing serious. And Publix, which I found to be quite a good supermarket is but a trolley ride away. If you have too much to carry, call the Beach Monkey..Free, just give them a nice tip. Are you convinced? I hope not because I want to come back and come back!!
My Response:
Hi Judy, Thank you for the awesome review. Our condo is our pride and joy. We continually invest thousands of dollars in upgrades every year and we are thrilled you enjoyed them. We are really looking forward to having you as our guests again next year as well. You are a pleasure to work with. Thank you again for being our guests. Sincerely, Terry, Sandy & Family
For the latest up to date news, events, special offers, things to do and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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FIVE FUN THINGS TO DO ON ANNA MARIA ISLAND

​1:​Paint a Sand Dollar – The Shiny Fish Emporium is one of my favorite places to go on Anna Maria Island. The owner’s vision was a place that children could enjoy as much as their parents. When you enter the store you will see for yourself that vision is a reality with a shop decorated in whimsical decor featuring unique heirloom quality toys, hand curated clothing and gifts for adults. The owner shares her art with youngsters in art classes, painting sand dollars and other projects. We painted sand dollars and the staff set us up on a large table and provided smocks and 100’s of colors of paint and encouraged us to get creative. You cannot leave without trying their fantastic ice cream. I usually go for Hawaiian Bubbles and hang out on the couch.  I love the owners style and have bought so many of her clothing, most of which I have never seen anywhere else. A hidden gem on Anna Maria Island and one that can be enjoyed by toddlers to teens, and even mom and dad!
​2:​Get Donuts – You will need to make at least one trip to The Donut Experiment while you are on the Island.  We first discovered Donut Experiment during spring break 2016. Since then, we’ve visited many times and brought lots of family and friends – all have loved it. We absolutely love the donuts and all the combinations. We’ve tried many! Don’t be surprised to see a line-up, but don’t worry, it moves fast. The donuts are always fresh because you place your order and watch as they are being made right in front of you. You have the choice of multiple glazes and toppings. The wonderful staff is friendly and helpful. The ordering process is easy and efficient. It is a fun atmosphere too – eating donuts right on the front porch. The donuts from Donut Experiment are simply the best!

​3:​Play Miniature Golf – The Fish Hole Adventure Golf is a great course with nice features throughout including turtles and fish. It is well laid out with some areas of shade for anyone wanting to escape the sun. A great activity for all ages, even littles ones. Not only is it a fun little course, but it is on Bridge Street only minutes from the condo.  Bridge Street has lots of shops and restaurants so you can spend a whole morning or afternoon there. While there take a walk to the Bradenton Beach Pier at the East end of Bridge Street. Taking in the scenic view looking over Sarasota Bay, you will see plenty of people fishing and families stopping to watch the boats pass by.

​4:​Dining with your toes in the sand – Seat yourself with your feet in the sand while your food is being creatively prepared. The Sandbar Restaurant is the only place on Anna Maria Island where you can actually eat on their large outdoor patio with your toes in the sand. A casual atmosphere where kids can run and play in the sand while waiting for their food. This locally owned eatery uses goods grown in their own farm, serves fish fresh from the docks at Cortez and they make their own breads. Beautiful beach view literally yards from the water directly on the beach.
​5:​Go to the Beach!  This is my #1 fun thing to do. Our favourite and a favourite for everyone is to spend lots of time at the beach. The beauty for our guests is that you just cross the street and you’re there. No packing up the kids and having to load up the car to drive. Gotta love that! Bradenton Beach is long and flat with plenty of clean, beautiful, white sand and lots of shallow water for young kids to play in. We take our beach chairs, beach towels and umbrellas that give us a nice amount of shade and perfect for little ones to play under.
The free Anna Maria Island trolley which stops nearby, will take you to all of these fun things while taking away the worry of driving and looking for parking. Riding the trolley itself is another fun thing to do and a fun way to see the Island.  Kids and adults love it.

For the latest up to date news, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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Island Players Live Theatre-Anna Maria Island

Come out for a fun night at the Theatre – time is running out, but some tickets still available for the remaining dates

BEYOND A JOKE ~ by: Derek Benfield

Directed by: James Thaggard

January 11– 28, 2018
 
Where – The Island Players, Inc.
Phone: 941 778-5755  

A comedy …

Just a short trolley ride from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217

Preview–People have a habit of dying at Jane and Andrew’s country house!

Six people have died suddenly while working at Jane and Andrew’s country house in England. Unfortunate and embarrassing accidents, but when their daughter Sally brings home her fiancé Geoff for the weekend things get really confusing. Is Jane and Andrew’s pleasant country house accident prone or is some suspicious activity going on? Geoff mixes up overheard conversations and mistakenly concludes that the deaths were not accidents but murders. Hysteria takes over when the body count goes up and a body is discovered in the cupboard. Then a visiting vicar passes peacefully away in the garden. Unexpectedly, Geoff’s parents call and for appearances Jane and her sister-in-law persuade Andrew to hide evidence. Geoff begins to think maybe the deaths were just accidents and helps them move the bodies in wheelbarrows. But, he is unaware that one of the bodies has been mistakenly stowed in the trunk of his parents’ car.

If you need a little laughter in your life — and who doesn’t? – come out to see The Island Players Theatre presentation of Beyond a Joke.

Some helpful information about The Island Players Theatre  …

Founded in 1949, The Island Players, Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing artistic experiences for the communities of Anna Maria Island through the presentation of stage productions.

The Island Players Theatre is located in the Old Community House on the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria on the North end of Anna Maria Island.

There are 137 seats in the theatre in tiered rows (stadium seating). There are 4 chairs on the right side of the theatre and 2 chairs on the “fireplace” side, giving a total seating capacity of 143.

Tickets are $20 (US) per performance for season’s five primary plays.

Food and beverages not allowed in the theatre.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the Box Office

or

by phone – (941) 778-5755

Regular show performances are: Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm Sunday matinees @ 2:00 pm

*Additional information available on their website —  theislandplayers.org

For the latest up to date news, things to do, events, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


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