Located in the "Old Palma Sola" area of northwest Bradenton, Palma Sola Botanical Park has 10 acres of beautiful, lush gardens for visitors to explore for free. The park opened in 1990, and the site had once been a Manatee County nursery. Now, it has become a space for rare palm trees, fruit and tropical plants to grow. As a nonprofit, the park seeks to educate the public about botany and host events.
9800 17th Ave. N.W., Bradenton
The park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily. Admission is free. Since there is plenty of shade from the trees, you will feel comfortable visiting at any time of day. Yoga in the park is also available during the fall. Visit the website for more information. Cost is $10 per class.
What to Bring
Bring a pair of binoculars and a camera to get a closer look at the tropical plants and the birds and butterflies that fly around them. Wear comfortable clothes to walk the grounds, and bring a bottle of water and snack to enjoy at the shaded pavilion. Have some money on hand if you wish to purchase a plant from the Hidden Garden Nursery on the grounds.
What to Expect
When you arrive at the gardens, you will be able to stroll throughout the grounds, taking in the scenery and exploring the areas with rare plants and fruit trees. There are three lakes on the property, with fountains and fish. A screened pavilion will allow you to spend some time enjoying a snack or picnic lunch, while still surrounded by nature. There are also two gazebos on site, perfect for photo opportunities.
The Gulfcoast Plumeria Society has also established a "Lei Garden," where you can walk through two groves of plumeria trees from across the globe. Or discover new fruit in a section developed by the Manatee Rare Fruit Council, where each tree is identified with an educational sign.
Volunteer opportunities at this peaceful park are also available, as well as hosted parties and weddings. Visit the park's website to schedule an event, or register for yoga in the park.