Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bradenton River Walk

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a multi-use waterfront park that showcases much of what the city has to offer. The 1.5 mile paved trail  begins behind the Central Library and follows the Manatee River  to its bend at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
We like to park at Rossi Park and walk through the butterfly garden to gain access. 
There is an exhibit of large rectangular art pieces here and scattered along the walk that are called postcards. They were designed  artists Jea Blackburn and Don Brandes.  They used the research results of  local school age children to create works of art that represented the history of the city.  The colorful postcards are painted in a primitive style. They represent Bradenton's ties to boating, farming and baseball.

The postcard art piece titled To Cuba.
My 2 favorite postcards are both night scenes. Million sunsets pays homage to the Tocobaga the original settlers of the Manatee River area. To Cuba depicts a whimsical cow in a rowboat reminding us that farmers in this region once shipped live cattle to Cuban markets from the Manatee River docks.
There are usually a few people casting nets for mullet in this part of the river. Florida is the only place we have seen this kind of fishing and it seems to be a lot of hard work to cast the net and then pull it closed and to the surface without losing your catch.
The waterfront includes a day dock for sailors visiting Bradenton and a fishing pier for anglers.
Following the walk to the left will take you past Pier 22 and the South Florida museum complex. 
Walk to the right  and you will find the recreational areas of the Riverwalk.

Fred experiencing the parabolic dishes.
Sculpture near the Fun Zone.
There are 19 colorful and interactive sculptures along the walkway. They include a metal drum garden, a pair of parabolic dishes that you can stand between to experience the river sounds in a different way and the mosaic designs that adorn the amphitheater.
The path follows a garden of sea grasses and other water edge plants called the Tidal Discovery Zone. It was built as an educational program explaining the rivers ecosystem.
You will find benches for sitting and concrete couches for lounging.
There are shaded spaces called living rooms where this sturdy weather resistant seating is arranged in formations that encourage interaction and conversation.
There is a beautiful playground here with a splash pad for cooling off after a strenuous workout on the pirate ship and monkey bars.

A small amphitheater provides space for concerts and plays.
There are sand courts for beach volleyball, a great lawn that is a perfect place for picnics and lawn games, a smaller lawn for yoga and Tai Chi, and a paved plaza for organized activities.

Outdoot seating with a view.
Our favorite spot and one of the most active is the Skatepark built under the route 41 overpass.  Fred and I always stop for a while to watch and admire the acrobatic skill of the scooter and skateboard athletes on the ramps and rails.
The far end of the river walk has a small launch for kayaks and canoes.
Bradenton's Riverwalk is a dog friendly park.
It's paved surface and well placed curb cuts make it accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

Purple Fountain grass along the river walk.


  1. Beautiful photos. Great to see you two enjoying Bradenton. Wish we were back there. Been cold up here in Virginia already! Roger & Pam

    1. It's cooling down a little now. We love being able to have the windows open. When are you two heading out again?