Manatee Island Park is a lot of fun packed into a small package! Located on 11.6 acres of nature preserve, this wildlife sanctuary is home to some of the state’s rarest plant and animal life. It is completely isolated from the main shore save for a single bridge on the southern side of the island. It's open nine months out of the year, from April 1st to September 31st.
The large stage at this park hosts a children’s concert series every summer. In fact, children’s events seem to be one of the biggest attractions at Manatee Island Park with a large, newly renovated playground and set of child-centric restrooms lining the southern edge of the park’s shoreline. They've also added a children’s “splash zone” with shooting water jets for your little ones to play in. These were initially installed in 2011 through a generous donation from the Florida Parks Federation, who also funded the renovations that occurred throughout 2015-2016.
If water sports are more your speed, the island’s recreation offices provide canoe and kayak rentals to the public for $3 an hour or $7 daily. All rentals must be returned to Manatee Island Park offices by sundown on the same day. These rentals are restricted to ages 16 and up.
The dog park itself is located at the northern tip of the island and is a 2.2 acre, fenced enclosure. This area has a few pieces of doggie play equipment like ladder climbs and teeter-totters. Dogs are allowed to be off leash in this part of the park, provided they have an even temperament. You can also take your canine on one of the six paved walking trails that are regularly maintained by park staff. The views from many of these trails are phenomenal, so be sure to take a few hours and enjoy the sights. Your dog will thank you for it!