SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS 

 A fun daytime activity if you’re looking to get away from the beach while still enjoying the sunny weather. This family attraction has been a favourite since 1939.
Visit Sarasota Jungle Gardens where you will find 10 acres of lush gardens, jungle trails and beautiful lakes. You’ll see over 200 native and exotic animals throughout the gardens including primates, reptiles, birds and free roaming flamingos that can be hand fed. Don’t miss the daily interactive wildlife, reptile or bird shows all included in your park admission.
Take the Inner Jungle Trail through the Tiki Gardens. The trail is shaded under a canopy of Palms and other Florida native trees, which makes the walk a surprisingly cool reprieve from the hot afternoon sun. Informative signs provide visitors with information about some of the animals in the Tiki Gardens (such as skunks and iguanas) as well as a little bit about the vegetation and plant life..
Walking along you can take a break in the canopy at the Flamingo Lagoon. The water is crystal clear, and you can see big fish as well as ducks and their free-roaming Flamingos. There are coin operated vending machines at the lagoon or you can purchase small or large bags at the gardens entrance. The flamingos will come right up and eat out of your hands.
Further along on the trail are the Koi Pond and Flamingo Café. In the air-conditioned the café you can enjoy lunch, snacks, cold beverages and ice cream. The pavilion near the Café is a great place for parents to kick their feet up and is within viewing range of the large Kiddie Jungle Playground.
Enjoy a stroll through the Butterfly gardens, continuing along the Outer Jungle Trail passing the waterfall and the Flamingo Nesting Island. The Jungle trail contains a handful of pretty little natural springs and is also home to the Petting Zoo, Birds of Prey and the Turtle Pond.
See a variety of large Alligators and Crocodiles by visiting the indoor area known as Reptile World where visitors can see large snakes, alligators, lizards, and other reptiles. Watch the Reptile Encounter show offering kids an opportunity to learn and hold an alligator after the show or even get a photo with one!  
The Jungle Bird show features parrots, cockatiels, macaws, and more performing a variety of different tricks including roller-skating and riding a bike. Be sure to catch Frosty the cockatoo’s twice a day act when he performs his bicycle, unicycle, and scooter tricks! After the show you will have an opportunity to pet or hold one of the exotic birds. There is a daily Wildlife Wonder show featuring red tail hawks, kookaburras, various species of owls, and other small mammals.
Many of the animals found their home at Sarasota Jungle Gardens through approved donations, rehabilitation centers or through state and federal agencies ensuring animals have a safe environment and permanent, caring home.
Go to Sarasota Jungle Gardens website to find admission discount COUPONS.

A visit to Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a fun escape from the beach, and a must do for all ages.

Just a short drive from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Fl 34217

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A BIG SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO THE REID FAMILY FOR THEIR AWESOME REVIEW

Family Friendly Beach Getaway
601 Gulf Drive North, Anna Maria Island, FL, 34217, United States
Date of Stay
Oct 29, 2017
We absolutely loved the location of this condo! We explored all the beaches but found the one directly across the road had the best beach and least amount of people. We walked to a different restaurant every evening. It’s close to the bridge street warf where we rented fishing rods. Lots of shopping handy too. The condo itself was very well equipped with everything we needed to cook and go to the beach. Beds where super comfy. The TV was huge with a ton of channels…not that we had time to watch it much! Our 3 kids slept in the guest bedroom and had lots of room for their things. All the furniture was very modern and new. The view from the deck is stunning but u can also see the ocean from almost every window. On our arrival there was wine and chocolates on the counter waiting for us. Terry was super helpful and gave us lots of advice on where to eat and what to see. He also gave us his cell number if we needed help with anything. We loved our stay and would return in a heartbeat!

My Response

Hi Jennifer, Thank you so much for the awwwwesome review. It was such a pleasure working with you and having you as our guests. Please keep us in mind for your future travel plans we would feel fortunate to have you as our guests again. Thank you again for being our guests.
Sincerely, Terry, Sandy & Family
For the latest up to date news, events, things, to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog at Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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OUTDOOR ICE-SKATING RINK OPENS IN SARASOTA

 
Yes, an outdoor ice skating rink in Florida – with real ice!
The outdoor, tent-covered skating rink opened Friday, November 17th as part of the mall’s “Holidays on the Green” at University Town Center (UTC). The mall at UTC is a retail paradise conveniently located at I75 and University Parkway in Sarasota. Now when you shop, you will see this seasonal holiday village nestled among strings of illuminated palm trees between the mall and North Cattlemen Road. The festive “winter” village will be open to the public through Jan. 15.

At the grand opening on Friday of Holidays on the Green there was a featured meet and greet with Ana and Elsa and then a movie showing of Disney’s “Frozen”! The village will also feature various holiday character meet-and-greets throughout the season. There will be a list of characters updated on the mall’s holiday village website – mallatutc.com Read more here: http://bit.ly/2hKiTqd

Just a short drive from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Fl 34217.

Each Saturday at 7 p.m. there are plans to show a holiday movie on a big screen. Classic movies such as, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Elf are some of the suggested, but not confirmed. Visit their website for an updated list.

There is also a free small off-track train that children can ride throughout the village.

The ice skating rink sitting under a tent filled with string lights, is equipped with real ice. The cost is $10 to rent skates and use the rink for 90 minutes. If the temperature is 78 degrees or below, the tent flaps will be open. Skating completely outside in the warm Florida air sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2hKiTqd
Read more here: http://bit.ly/2hKiTqd

Holidays on the Green Hours (Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018) weeks 

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

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DINING OUT FOR THANKSGIVING – 2017-Anna Maria Island

 DINING OUT FOR THANKSGIVING – 2017
If you are one of the lucky ones to be staying at Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals for the
Holiday, we have a few suggestions for Dinner. Whether you are looking for dining
casual on the beach or finer dining, these restaurants, are sharing their Holiday to
make yours special.  Find your perfect fit and call soon for reservations.
Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe ~ open from noon to 5 pm  – 400 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach,
Manatee and Gulf Drive directly on the beach. Trolley stop right in front of restaurant.  –
Phone: 941-778-0784Picnic and patio, this beach side cafe is perfect for those who prefer a laid back
beach atmosphere.
Bridge Street Bistro ~  Opens at noon – Accepting reservations- last reservation is 8:00 pm
Upstairs above Island Time Bar & Grill. –  111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach – Phone: 941-782-1122
Upscale-casual bistro with a seafood-centric menu, a bar & a deck that offers Gulf of Mexico views.
Comfort food · Great cocktails · Great wine list
Bridge Tender Inn ~ 11:30 am11:00 pm135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach –  Phone:
941-778-4849Enjoy the indoor dining room or outdoor water view. All day football with music and
friendly service the Bridge Tender Inn is open and happy to celebrate the holiday with you.
Walking distance or short trolley ride from the condo.
Gulf Drive Cafe and Kokonut Hut ~ 7 am to 7 pm – 900 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach –
Phone: 941-778-1919Beach-side dining as you like it, Inside or outside it is a very casual dining
experience. The service is good and the food is above average. Directly on the beach. Beautiful seaside
view! It does get very busy and parking can be a problem. Our guests can walk there in less than 3
minutes.
Island Time Bar & Grill ~ 11:30 am – 10:00 pm111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach – Phone :
941-782-1122Open-air bar with a patio featuring cocktails, seafood & upmarket bar fare in a laid-back
setting.. Great food, service and a perfect Island atmosphere.Walking distance from Anna Maria Island
Condo Rentals.
The Sign of the Mermaid ~ Open Breakfast/lunch 9:00 am – 1:00 pm  Dinner 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
9707 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria Island  –  Phone: 941-778-9399Take the trolley north from the condo –
Trolley stop 34Open, but not with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. An island favourite continental
eatery featuring aseafood-oriented menu in an antiques-filled house built in 1912. Award winning pies.
Kid friendly options.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful for our blessings. We are grateful for
each and every one of you, our guests.
Happy Thanksgiving from our family!  ~ Anna Maria Island Beach Rentals 
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SMOQEHOUSE RESTAURANT ANNA MARIA ISLAND

LOCATED at : 1701 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Phone: 941-242-5340. Currently accepting call ahead orders.

Getting there is easy. Jump a short walk from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217.

We were so excited when we saw this new restaurant had opened on Gulf Drive a short walk from our condo. We love good barbecue and Smoqehouse didn’t disappoint!

Andrew Kubes, co-owner of Smoqehouse and his wife, Heidi, opened the restaurant on July 31, 2017. The couple own two other somewhat similar restaurants in Minnesota.

This Bradenton Beach restaurant has a rustic modern setting. It is casual which suits the laid back atmosphere on Anna Maria Island. Love the decor – painted black walls, suspended Edison bulbs and picnic tables. The exterior of Smoqehouse is is also painted black, accented by a metal roof. Overall a great look inside and out!

Their name suggests a traditional barbecue restaurant but their tag line which says “barbecue fusion” is actually more accurate. All menu items at Smoqehouse including sauces and dressings are made from scratch. Their cheeses are smoked in-house and their fruits for their vinaigrettes are smoked. Salads are fresh and interesting and the special of the day is always tempting. It has only been open a few months, but we have made our way there many times and have never been disappointed! Make sure you order the fries…hand cut and crispy! And, save room for their creative signature dessert consisting of vanilla soft-serve ice cream with Chilean olive oil and black lava sea salt – Fabulous!

You order at the counter and they call your name when it is ready. Our food has always been delivered in a very few minutes. The only problem we encountered was when ordering choosing between the Cubano sandwich, brisket burger, the tempting special, smoked chicken or, my favourite – the amazing vegetarian sandwich! A difficult decision for sure!

I was pleased to see that there was a caffeine-free diet soda fountain option (light lemonade). A beer and wine license is pending.

They do accept credit cards (I used AMEX)..

There is limited parking but that goes for pretty much any place on Anna Maria Island. The trolley stops within 100 yards of their front door – please, do not be tempted to park in places other than obvious restaurant parking spots, as it is very likely you will be towed. Take this tip from your friends at Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – walk, ride the free trolley or call Island Beach Monkeys.

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

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Anna Maria Island City Pier Restoration

ANNA MARIA CITY PIER – repurposing of the wooden pier planks:

In one of our recent blogs I wrote about the tearing down and rebuilding of the Anna Maria City Pier due to the extensive damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. The estimated date to re-open is 2019. In that blog I touched on what would happen to the wooden planks carved with names and remembrances. My thoughts were that they would be sold and people would line up to buy a piece of what remains of their pier. It appears we are not the only ones wondering what will happen to these memory pieces. We do know the planks that currently line the Anna Maria City Pier will be removed and replaced as part of the city’s plan to rebuild the pier. But, it has not yet been decided what to do with the engraved planks once they are removed.

You might be wondering about the origin of the wooden planks? I was curious and after doing some research this is what I found out –The pier opened in 1911 and to launch it’s 100-year celebration the Islander newspaper and the Anna Maria City Pier restaurant sponsored the engraved wooden plank project. The total number of sold out planks installed was 1,000 with a base cost of $100 which included a 12-character inscription carved in the plank. The engraved plan sponsor, The Islander newspaper is said to have have received many calls and lots of people have contacted Pier management directly. Anna Maria Island mayor Dan Murphy created an e-mail address specifically for people to send in their suggestions and it has been reported that he received a great response. According to Mayor Murphy, there are three popular recommendations. 1. Returning the planks to the people who purchased them. 2. Building a boardwalk in the city. 3. Repurposing the wood inside the City Pier Restaurant when it reopens. According to Mayor Murphy the third option appears to be the most popular and he likes that option as well. He suggested the engraved planks could be used for paneling on the walls or to rebuild the bar. The Mayor will be bring the options to the city commission at the next city meeting scheduled for Nov. 9/2017.

What to do with the old planks is not the only question being asked. There have been concerns raised about what will replace them. The engineering firm hired for the pier project recommended using lumberock. A recent Islander poll conducted, respondents say they prefer wood planks. Lumberock has a longer lifespan than wood, but the city has not committed yet. If the city uses wooden planks they would have to be replaced sooner. I’m sure the initial cost of the lumberock is more, but if it lasts longer one I would guess that would more then offset the initial cost? This is just one of many decisions to be made in the approved rebuild plan, which is estimated to cost $5 million.

Although it may be cost prohibitive, I am presently in favour of repurposing the planks inside the restaurant. Stay tuned!

For the latest news, events, thing to do, special offer and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog-601 Gulf Dr. N. Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217

Created by Sandy Whyte

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ANNA MARIA CITY PIER – repurposing of the wooden pier planks

In one of our recent blogs I wrote about the tearing down and rebuilding of the Anna Maria City Pier due to the extensive damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. The estimated date to re-open is 2019. In that blog I touched on what would happen to the wooden planks carved with names and remembrances. My thoughts were that they would be sold and people would line up to buy a piece of what remains of their pier. It appears we are not the only ones wondering what will happen to these memory pieces. We do know the planks that currently line the Anna Maria City Pier will be removed and replaced as part of the city’s plan to rebuild the pier. But, it has not yet been decided what to do with the engraved planks once they are removed.

You might be wondering about the origin of the wooden planks? I was curious and after doing some research this is what I found out –The pier opened in 1911 and to launch it’s 100-year celebration the Islander newspaper and the Anna Maria City Pier restaurant sponsored the engraved wooden plank project. The total number of sold out planks installed was 1,000 with a base cost of $100 which included a 12-character inscription carved in the plank. The engraved plan sponsor, The Islander newspaper is said to have have received many calls and lots of people have contacted Pier management directly. Anna Maria Island mayor Dan Murphy created an e-mail address specifically for people to send in their suggestions and it has been reported that he received a great response. According to Mayor Murphy, there are three popular recommendations. 1. Returning the planks to the people who purchased them. 2. Building a boardwalk in the city. 3. Repurposing the wood inside the City Pier Restaurant when it reopens. According to Mayor Murphy the third option appears to be the most popular and he likes that option as well. He suggested the engraved planks could be used for paneling on the walls or to rebuild the bar. The Mayor will be bring the options to the city commission at the next city meeting scheduled for Nov. 9/2017.

What to do with the old planks is not the only question being asked. There have been concerns raised about what will replace them. The engineering firm hired for the pier project recommended using lumberock. A recent Islander poll conducted, respondents say they prefer wood planks. Lumberock has a longer lifespan than wood, but the city has not committed yet. If the city uses wooden planks they would have to be replaced sooner. I’m sure the initial cost of the lumberock is more, but if it lasts longer one I would guess that would more then offset the initial cost? This is just one of many decisions to be made in the approved rebuild plan, which is estimated to cost $5 million.

Although it may be cost prohibitive, I am presently in favour of repurposing the planks inside the restaurant. Stay tuned!

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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