Looking to get outside, stretch your legs, and learn a bit of Florida history along the way? Visit Bradenton’s Visit Bradenton’s Desoto National Memorial Park! Visitors can attend living history demonstrations, try on a piece of armor, or walk the nature trail through a Florida coastal landscape similar to the one encountered by conquistadors almost five hundred years ago.
On a sweltering day in May of 1539, Hernando de Soto and an army of over 600 soldiers splashed ashore in the Tampa Bay area. This park in Northwest Bradenton, just a few miles off of Anna Maria Island, commemorates the 1539 landing of Hernando de Soto and the first extensive organized exploration by Europeans of what is now the southern United States. The mission of De Soto National Memorial is to preserve the controversial story of this exploration and interpret its significance in American history.
The memorial includes about 26 acres, where the Manatee River joins Tampa Bay. It has 3,000 feet of coastline and eighty percent of the area is mangrove swamp. So, there is lots of Florida landscape to explore and enjoy at DeSoto park. Other park activities include nature trails and guided trail walks, fishing, bird watching, and picnicking. Park admission is free, so bring the whole family!
Check their website for frequently updated times for events, shows, and programs in the near future.
Photos courtesy of Desoto National Memorial.