Macaroni KID Bradenton 2024 Summer Fun Guide From A to Z

Local fun events to add to your Summer Bucket List

By Denise Granata May 22, 2024

Welcome SUMMER!!  School is out and the FUN is in!  We live in an AMAZING community where there is so much to do.  If you want to explore the outdoors, we have beautiful preserves and beaches, kayaking tours, Farmers Markets, outdoor movies and live music, a championship baseball team and playgrounds.  And to escape the heat we have circus shows, arts and crafts, amazing camps and vacation bible schools, open gyms, a list of museums and more. And many of these events are free!  So, get out there and make some family fun summer memories!

Thank you to our sponsor MYSTIC MINES - GEMSTONE MINING!  The support of our sponsors allows us to continue to offer Macaroni KID Bradenton at no cost to you! 

Mystic Mines is the area's largest Gemstone Mining Attraction! Come down and have some fun MINING for rough stones, clusters polished and tumbled stones, fossils, and crystals of all kinds. You never know what’s hidden in that bucket just waiting for YOU! Kids of all ages LOVE to Gemstone Mine. Three bucket sizes to choose from $15, $25, and $40.  SUMMER SPECIAL: $5 OFF FRIDAYS!  EVERY FRIDAY THROUGH AUGUST TAKE $5 OFF OUR LARGE BUCKET.

Art and Crafting

  •  Arts a Blaze Studio - Open studio catering to crafters and artists.  Walk-in at your convenience. Hours are Monday - Saturday 10AM to 8PM and Sunday 12PM to 5PM. 
  • Camp Creatology at Michaels Stores - Four weeks of creative summer fun Monday, Wednesday and Friday, June 17 - July 12 for kids ages 6+.  10AM to 12PM.  $5 per child / all supplies provided. 
  • Creative Liberties - Offers a FREE Family Art Day the fourth Saturday of every month from 9AM to 12PM.  
  • Art in the Park at Palmetto Historical Park - Fun art activities every Thursday in June at 10AM.  Registration required.
  • Painting with a Twist Bradenton - Come enjoy an evening out with friends, have a date night, celebrate a special occasion, or come alone and meet new people!  Pop In and Paint Days are Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11AM to 3PM.  No registration required.  
  • Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College - Offers a variety of artistic fun!  All FREE with museum admission. Your Wednesday Playdates: For early learners with an adult.  Every Wednesday 10AM to 12PM.  Saturday Studios: Drop-in studio workshops are designed for children and their families - open to all ages.  Every Saturday 1PM to 3PM.  Free Second Sundays: Provides drop-in art projects, the chance to explore our art spaces and the opportunity to meet Museum Educators!  11AM to 4PM.  
  • Sarasota Children's Garden - Offers nature, gardening and art programs for all ages. Most included in the cost of admission.  The Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday 10AM to 4PM (closed Monday).
  • The Makery SRQ - DIY art and pottery studio. All ages welcome!  


The Bradenton Marauders season is in full swing!  Tickets start as low as $7 and can be purchased HERE. Enjoy home games and special promotions, including Independence Day Celebration (July 3), Back to School Night (July 27) and Fan Appreciation Night (August 31). Also sign up for the First Mates Kid's Club (open to ages 12 and under) for only $30 and take advantage of tickets to games and members-only activities during the season! 


The Ringing and the Circus Arts Conservatory are pairing up again this year for the Summer Circus Spectacular. The one-hour show runs June 14 – August 17 at 11AM and 2PM Tuesdays through Fridays, and 2PM and 5PM on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Purchase your tickets HERE


  • Don't feel like cooking tonight?  Check out our Kids Eat Fun, Free or Cheap Guide
  • Kid's Nights at Sharky's on the Pier - Every Wednesday at 6:30PM, kids can enjoy crab walk races, face painting, scavenger hunts and other fun activities.
  • The Summer Break Spot is a program that provides free meals for kids and teens at multiple locations starting May 28.  See below for locations and times for distribution. 


  • Summer Saturdays Bash - Every Saturday in July from 9AM to 12PM for kids 3 to 12. Weeks include soccer, baseball, flag football and NERF Battle.  $20 per child or $70 for all 4 weeks.  
  • UTC Fit - Every Saturday morning at 9:30AM enjoy a FREE outdoor group workout class, led by instructors from our local fitness community. 
  • Sunset Yoga on the Green - Every Wednesday at 6:30PM, enjoy yoga in the open-air on The Green at UTC. Free/no registration required. 
  • Fit4MOM Stoller Strides - A 60-minute total-body workout with strength, cardio, and core training, all while engaging the little ones in a stroller.  Held every Monday and Friday at 9AM.
  • Classes at The Bay Park offers a variety of FREE fitness options for all ages, including Bootcamp, Intro to Pickleball, Tai Chi, Zumba, Yoga and more. Check out their schedule and register for an event HERE
  • Free ice skating - Join us at Ellenton Ice Skating rink for a free Try-It class every Saturday morning at 10:45 - 11:15AM!  Open to kids and adults - first come first served.  Plus, check the Daily Public Skating Session schedule HERE.  
  • Astro Skate of Bradenton - Check out their weekly schedule of special events, including Learn to Skate Classes, Hip Hop Family Skate, $2 Skate, Free Pizza Skate and more!  
  • TreeUmph! Adventure Course - Fly from tree to tree on crazy-fun obstacles that defy gravity. Courses available for ages 5 and up!

Farmers Markets 

  • Bradenton Public Market - Now open for the summer season on the second Saturday June through August from 8AM to 12PM.  FREE admission.
  • Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch - Shop local every Sunday from 10AM to 2PM with 90+ local vendors. FREE admission.
  • Sarasota Farmers Market - Features local produce, plants, prepared foods, and artisans. Open every Saturday from 7AM to 1PM.  FREE admission.
  • The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime - An Indie indoor market, home to over 40 local creators and curators.  Open Thursday through Saturday from 10AM to 3PM year-round.  Also has live music from 12PM to 3PM and other special events.  FREE admission.
  • UTC Night Markets - Shop, sip, and stroll under the stars every third Thursday of the month from 6:30PM to 9:30PM on the Green at UTC.  FREE admission.

Great Summer Deals 

  • The Florida Railroad Museum is offering a special rate of only $5 for kids to ride the Willow Express train this summer (with paid adult admission).  
  • Defy Bradenton - Purchase the Summer Pass for only $69.99 and get 90 minutes of jump time every day through 9/22/24. 
  • Mystic Mines Gemstone Mining - Every Friday during the summer save $5 off the large gemstone mining bucket. 
  • Jumpin Fun Inflata Park - Purchase a Summer Pass for $149 and get 2.5 hour admission everyday May 27 through August 9.  You get complete access to the park including 1 ride on the AirRider Zip-Rail Coaster. 
  • Sky Zone Sarasota - Purchase a Summer Pass for $119 and play every day for 2 hours a day until August 11.
  • Bowlero Summer Season Pass - Purchase a Basic Summer Pass for $49.99 and get 2 games of bowling, plus shoe rental every day through September 2.  
  • License-free Fishing Days!  Freshwater dates June 15-16 | Saltwater dates June 8-9, September 7.
  • Free Airplane Rides for Kids - Children ages 8-17 can receive a FREE airplane ride at Universal Flight Services courtesy of EAA Chapter 579. Registration required.

Hands-on Classes and Workshops

  • Home Depot offers a FREE Kid's Workshop the first Saturday of each month from 9AM to 12PM.  FREE / while supplies last.   
  • Make It Take It at the Manatee County Agricultural Museum every Thursday in June. These are parent/self-guided learning activities for children to have hands-on fun, complete projects, and learn new things! Times are 9:30AM and 11:30AM - register in advance.  FREE.    
  • Lowe's Kids Workshops - Bring your kids in to create a project. Select Saturdays from 10AM to 1PM.  FREE / while supplies last.  

Island Exploring 

Explore our beautiful beaches on the trolley and ferry!    

  • Anna Maria - Daily service runs from 6AM to 10:30PM every 20 minutes from the Anna Maria City Pier on the north to Coquina Beach on the south.  Get more information on the Anna Maria trolley HERE.  
  • Siesta Key - Daily service runs from 8AM to 10PM and follows Ocean Boulevard to Beach Road and down Midnight Pass Road.  Get more information on Siesta Key trolley HERE.   
  • NEW!!!  The Gulf Island Ferry - Park in downtown Bradenton, hop on the ferry, and enjoy the scenic trip to Anna Maria Island. If you’re on Anna Maria Island, take the ferry to explore the Bradenton Riverwalk, museums and more.  Get your FREE pass HERE

Journey Through a Museum

  • Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum - Always FREE admission (donations accepted).  Museum hours are 10AM to 1PM Tuesday through Saturday.  Closed every Sunday and Monday and the month of September.
  • Family Heritage House Museum - Always FREE admission (donations accepted).  Museum hours are 10:30AM to 3:30PM Tuesday through Thursday || By appointment Monday, Friday and Saturday || Closed Sunday.
  • Florida Maritime Museum - Currently closed for construction. 
  • Gamble Plantation Historic State Park - Always FREE admission to the park (donations accepted).  The park is open from 8AM to sunset every day and the museum is open 9AM to 5PM Thursday through Monday. Tours are $6 per adult, $4 per child (6 to 12 years).  Museum hours are 8AM to sunset.
  • Manatee County Agricultural Museum - Always FREE admission (donations accepted).  Museum hours are 10AM to 4PM Tuesday through Friday and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.  
  • Manatee Village Historical Park - Always FREE admission (donations appreciated).  Museum hours are 9AM to 4PM Monday through Friday and the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.   
  • Musuem of Art and Bayfront Gardens (The Ringling) - Always FREE admission on Monday 10AM to 5PM. Hours are 10AM to 5PM Monday through Sunday and until 8PM on Thursday.
  • Palmetto Historical Park - Always FREE admission (donations accepted).  Museum hours are 10AM to 12PM and 1PM to 4PM Tuesday through Friday and the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.  
  • The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature - Visit them on a Soar in 4 Night and get FREE admission plus FREE literacy materials. June 5, July 10, August 7 and September 11 | 5:30PM to 7PM.

Kayak Tours

  • The De Soto National Memorial Ranger-led Kayak Tours along the waterways of Robinson Preserve. Children must be at least 7 years of age AND weigh over 50lbs. Tours run on Thursdays - May 2, 16, 30 and June 13 pending weather, water, and staffing conditions.  Reservations required - reservation fee is $1 which is nonrefundable.   
  • Ride and Paddle at The Bay - Come experience the flora and fauna at The Bay through a FREE, guided kayak nature tour every Saturday at 8:30AM.  Tours are for ages 12 and up.  Kayaks and life jackets are provided. Reservations are required and can be made HERE. Kayak and Paddleboard rentals are also available for a cost - summer hours are Saturday and Sundays from 8AM to 3:30PM, weather permitting.
  • Jiggs Landing - Offers a variety of tours, including Sunset Tours, Full Moon Tours, Lunch Time Tours and even Guided Fishing Tours.  Make your reservations HERE

Library Events 

The Manatee County Libraries have many FREE programs over the summer, including story times, puppet shows, arts and crafts, magic shows, and more!  Check out the SEVEN branches in Manatee County, including the Central, Braden River, Island, Palmetto, Rocky Bluff, South Manatee and Lakewood Ranch branches, plus the Discovery Center. See the Schedule of Events.


  • Regal Summer Movie Express - Each week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11AM, get Summer Movie Express tickets for just $1.  June 11 - August 7.
  • AMC Summer Movie Camp - Each week on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11AM and 2PM, get summer movie tickets for just $3.  June 24 - August 14.
  • Screen on the Green - Family-friendly flicks are shown on UTC Green every fourth Friday of the month at dusk. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  FREE.
  • Outdoor Movies at The Bay Park - Enjoy free family movies on the Municipal Auditorium Civic Green. Check out the calendar of movies (and other events happening at The Bay Park) HERE
  • CoolToday Summer Movie Nights - Family-friendly movie nights held most Sunday nights in June and July inside the stadium.  Tickets are only $3 for children (ages 4 to 9) and $7 for adults. 
  • Ruskin Family Drive In - Features current movies in a drive-in setting. Admission is $7.00 for ages 9 and up, $2.00 for ages 5 to 8 and FREE for ages 4 and under.  This includes both movies playing that night.  CASH ONLY.  Get the schedule of movies HERE.  
  • Movie in the Park at Waterside Place - Enjoy a free, outdoor, family-friendly movie every 2nd Friday of the month! Showtimes begin at approximately 8PM; come early for face painting and inflatables starting at 7PM. 
  • Movie Night and Pottery Painting at Arts a Blaze - Every Wednesday evening - movies begin at 6PM.  June 5 - July 31.  Fun for all ages. Reservation highly suggested - $5 ticket price to hold your reservation.

 Nature Preserves

Robinson Preserve, Emerson Pointe Preserve, Jiggs Landing...these are just a few of the beautiful preserves in our area. Get your hiking shoes on, grab a picnic and enjoy a day of nature!  Also, don't miss out on the FREE programs offered at the preserves including the Families Flock Together program, Tall Tails Tribe, Kid's Archery and more.  See the monthly Calendar of Events.  

Outdoor Events and Live Music

  • Lakewood Ranch Music on Main is the first Friday of every month from 6PM to 9PM.  Come enjoy live musical entertainment, vendors and a fun FREE Kid's Zone with a variety of inflatables and other fun activities.  
  • Artwalk weekends at Village of the Arts are the first weekend of every month - Friday at 6PM to 9:30PM and Saturday at 11AM to 4PM.  Enjoy the galleries, shops, restaurants, live music, and tasty treats.  FREE!
  • Fresh Fridays Downtown Sarasota - A monthly event series that takes place on the first Friday of the month. Each month features a new theme and celebrates a different section of downtown Sarasota. FREE!
  • Palmetto Summer Concert Series - FREE outdoor event featuring live music and food trucks. $25 for preferred seating. June 28, July 26, August 23 and September 27 starting at 6PM.
  • Friday Fest at the Van Wezel - FREE outdoor summertime concert series on the first Friday of the month from 5PM to 9PM.  Bring your chairs and blankets!  Register for tickets in advance.
  • Live Music at the Waterside Place Plaza - Enjoy live music on The Plaza from 6PM to 9PM while taking in beautiful waterfront views.  Select Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Music on the Porch is a jam session (based on musician participation) at Florida Maritime Museum from 2PM to 4PM on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. 
  • Siesta Key Drum Circle - The community drum circle plays every Sunday, about 1 hour before sunset, just south of the main pavilion between lifeguard stands 3 and 4 on Siesta Public Beach.  
  • Jiggs Landing - Enjoy live music 3 hours before sunset on specified days.  See the Band Schedule
  • Fiorelli Winery and Vineyard - Live music select Saturdays and Sundays from 1PM to 5PM. 
  • Laser Light Nights at The Bishop Museum of Science and Industry - Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from May 23 through August 31, rock out to your favorite artists in the Planetarium! Show times are 7PM and 9PM.  Tickets are $15 per person.
  • Music BINGO - At UTC Green every third Monday of the month from 7PM to 9PM.  First come first served. FREE.

Parks and Playgrounds and Tours 

  • Kids need fresh air and exercise!  There are many parks and playgrounds in the area - check out our Parks and Playground Guide.
  • Dakin Dairy Farms - Learn “Where Milk Comes From” and how milk travels from the cow to the bottle.  Tours include tasting our chocolate and whole milk and making your own butter. You’ll also get to feed the resident livestock while learning about calves, goats, and sheep.  Tours available on certain days that will be listed on the tour calendar on their website. 
  • Pirate Adventures of Cortez - Experience the pirate adventure of a lifetime by joining the fierce crew of the pirate ship Sea Gypsy to embark on a real treasure hunt on the waters of Anna Maria. Reservations required. 

Quiet Time

Summer is a great time to pick up a good book.  Especially when it is hot outside!  Check out all of these FREE Summer Reading Programs for your chance to read some awesome books while earning prizes!  


  • The Kids Summer Beach Runs are 1-mile beach runs held every Tuesday (June 4 - July 30) at Siesta Beach and every Wednesday (June 5 - July 31) at Brohard Beach. No run the week of July 4.  Weekly registration begins at 5:30PM with race time at 6:30PM. Kids receive a participation ribbon at each run. Complete four runs and earn a free custom T-shirt.  Fun for ages 1 to 17.  FREE.    
  • The Zoomers Kids Summer Run Series at Nathan Benderson Park. Kids ages 1-16 are invited to run one mile each Tuesday in June from 6PM to 7PM. There is a one-time registration fee of $10 per child. That includes all four runs and a t-shirt (must order by June 1).  Registration required.

Story Times and Mommy and Me Play Groups 

  • Barnes and Noble - Join the Sarasota store for story times and activities on Saturday at 11AM. Check their calendar HERE for the schedule.  
  • UTC Kids Club - Enjoy a lineup of high-energy, interactive experiences for kids the fourth Wednesday of every month at 10AM.
  • Forty Carrots: Partners in Play - FREE play class for mobile babies through age 5.  Classes are held at libraries in Manatee and Sarasota counties - check out the Schedule
  • Gulf Coast Music Therapy - Offering Music Together summer classes.  45-minute interactive classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and their grown-ups. 
  • The Brats Club SRQ - Provides developmental play and music classes for children (1 month to 4 years) and their caregivers.  Summer schedule is May 28 - July 1.  
  • Fun to Be Fit - Kids will have fun moving and dancing. Various classes at various locations throughout the summer.  Check out their Facebook events page HERE for more details. 
  • The Roots Health Center - Open Play for 0 to 2-year-olds.  Thursdays 9:30AM to 10:30AM.
  • Musical Motion - FREE program for kids ages 0 to 5 and their caregivers.  Classes are offered in both English and Spanish.  Various days/times/locations available on a first come first serve basis.

Tumbling, Toddler Times and Open Gyms 

  • KidJump at Defy Bradenton - Children ages 6 and under will take over the park every Monday through Friday from 9AM to 12PM.  Cost is $17.99 for 90 minutes.
  • Toddler Time at Jumpin Fun Inflata Park - For kids 5 and under!  Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9AM to 11AM.  Cost is $14.95 (for 2 hours) which includes one parent.  Additional children under 5 or adults are an additional $9.95 each.  
  • Little Leapers at SkyZone Sarasota - For children 5 years old and under.  Cost is $13 (for 2 hours) and one parent can assist for FREE (no jumping).  Additional adults are $9 each.  Every Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 11AM.  
  • Flip Zone Gymnastics offers Open Gyms for ages 5 to 18. Check out their website for dates.
  • Sweet Peas Gymnastics offers Play Dates for ages 1 to 4.  Check out their website for dates. 
  • Junior Jumpers Jam at Altitude Trampoline Park for children ages 6 and under.  Every Monday through Friday from 10AM to 1PM.  Cost is $11.50 per child for 2 hours and $3.50 for a parent pass.
  • Jump Jump Children Multiverse - Open Monday - Friday 9AM to 12PM and 2PM to 8PM, plus Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 8:30PM.  Cost is $19 for 3 hours / sibling is $14 / Day ticket $25.
  • We Rock the Spectrum Bradenton - Provides a fun, safe, inclusive environment for all children. Open 7 days a week 9AM to 6PM - please check their Facebook page for any changes to the schedule. $16 for 2 hours and siblings are $14.  $20 for an all-day pass. 
  • The Flock SRQ - The Playhouse for ages 0 to 4 and their grown-ups.  Join them for an Open Play, classes and Parenting Workshops. 
  • Playtime Plaza - Where imagination comes to life.  Summer Open Play hours are Monday 9AM to 1PM, Tuesday - Thursday 9AM to 5PM, Friday 9AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 6PM and Sunday 9AM to 5PM.  Memberships available.
  • Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics Open Gym - This is a time where kids (18 moths to 18 years) can enjoy non-structured free time in the gym. Parents must be present in the gym with children 5 years of age and under. Every Wednesday from 11AM to 12PM for $7 and every Saturday 6:30PM to 8:30PM for $12 members and $15 nonmembers. 
  • Seaside Allstars Open Gym - Offers a supervised space to work on tumbling, dance and cheer skills while having fun and hanging out with friends.  Every Friday night 7PM to 9PM | $10.

Unique Road Trip Ideas 

Feel like a day trip?  There are a number of fun museums and other special attractions and events, all located within an hour or two of Bradenton.  

  • 2024 Wawa Summer Fun Days - Enjoy FREE admission to Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales) on the last Thursday and Friday of the month from May through August.  
  • Dinosaur World (Plant City) - Where visitors can see up close and life size the amazing creatures that once ruled the Earth.
  • MOSI (Tampa) - A hands-on science center dedicated to interactive learning and playful exploration.
  • Glazer Children's Museum (Tampa) - Created specifically for children under 12, this museum offers 170 'interactivities' in multiple themed areas.  Offers FREE admission the first Tuesday of every month.
  • Great Explorations Children's Museum (St Pete) - For more than three decades, Great Explorations has held its position as the foremost children's museum in Tampa Bay, championing hands-on learning experiences through a well-established creative curriculum.
  • Florida Children's Museum (Lakeland) - There’s something for the whole family spread across 47,800 square feet of hands-on exploration. Be sure to save time for the Bonnet Springs Park too!

Vacation Bible School and Summer Camps

  • Many Vacation Bible Schools are FREE!  Check out our Vacation Bible School Guide.  We have over 30 local programs listed, including in Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto and Parrish.
  • Check out our Summer Camp Guide - be sure to tell them Macaroni KID Bradenton sent you as many are offering our subscribers exclusive DISCOUNTS! 

Water Fun 

Xplore the Ringling 

The Ringling grounds, including the David Bolger playground, is always open during regular business hours. There are a number of FREE programs (pre-registration required) - see below!  Plus, admission to the Museum of Art on Monday is always FREE!  

  • ROAR - FREE story time program that connects art with early literacy! This program is designed for preschoolers and toddlers, but all ages are welcome. Fridays at 10:15AM and 11:30AM June 14 - August 2.  
  • Family Art Making - FREE creative art projects inspired by an object in our collections. Every Saturday 10AM to 12PM (starting every 30 minutes) June 15 - July 27.
  • FAM Open Studio - FREE program that's fun for the whole family. Each week, we provide a new art material for you to explore using your imagination and creativity.  Every Wednesday 10 AM to 12PM (starting every 60 minutes) June 5 - July 31. 
  • Stroller Tours - FREE program! Join a museum educator for a one-hour tour designed for parents or caregivers visiting the museum with an infant. This tour allows both adults and babies to interact with art and each other. We will play, learn, and enjoy the collections together! Every Tuesday at 10:30AM June 11 - July 30. 
  • Circus Museum - Immerse yourself in circus history - visit the Historic Circus Galleries and the Tibbals Learning Center, plus NOW OPEN - The Greatest Show on Earth® Gallery! Included in museum admission. 

You can win GIVEAWAYS!! 

Be sure to subscribe to the FREE Macaroni KID Bradenton weekly e-newsletter to be eligible to win all the awesome giveaways going on this summer.  Also be sure to follow us on our social media pages - Facebook and Instagram.

Zzzz...with all this fun you should be ready for a nice nap! :)  

Check out our DAILYCALENDAR for more events!