After days and days of cloudy, gray skies, the sun came out yesterday! We decided to celebrate with a visit to our close neighbor, Robinson Preserve.
Robinson Preserve is almost 500 acres (it’s HUGE!) in the Palma Sola area of northwest Bradenton. There are miles of trails to bike, hike, scooter, rollerblade, jog, etc. We decided to walk this time, and we brought our pup, Star, along.
There are two entrances to Robinson Preserve: one is in northwest Bradenton, at the end of 17th Ave. NW (about a 15 minute drive from Anna Maria Island), but the other one is much closer for us. It’s just over the drawbridge leaving the island. We parked in a small lot on the south side of Manatee Avenue and took this cool walkway underneath the road. We’d never come this way before. The last time we came, there was no parking lot here, and therefore it was not an ideal place to start out. But this time it was perfect!
As soon as you head into the preserve, you forget where you are. You’re surrounded by lush trees and plants immediately.
Don’t they look mesmerized?!
Maybe not. But it sure is nice to get away from the traffic for a little while!
There are quite a few little bridges to stop at. Lots of fishing opportunities, if you’re into that. We’re not avid fisher-people, but it was neat to see a few people casting out, wondering what they were going to reel back in.
Maps of the preserve are posted throughout, at any junction you may come to. This was our first one. Should we stay on the yellow trail and follow it north? Or should we detour down the boardwalk to the open water?
Look at that view! What an absolutely gorgeous day for this.
We hadn’t walked too long yet, but the kids were hungry. And Star was pooped. So we looked for a place to picnic.
They have a few picnic tables and covered pavilions here and there, but we’d brought our organic picnic blanket and wanted to use it.
Mmmmmmmm. Subway! I will say, I LOVE the Subway on Anna Maria Island. They take food allergies very seriously. All you have to say is “I have a food allergy,” and they whip off their old gloves and start washing knives. Every single time. Every different employee I’ve had. It’s totally awesome, and I tell them that regularly.
Don’t forget to water your dog!
And take time for a selfie. That’s totes important.
After lunch, we continued wandering down our “yellow” path, and we came across this site — a bunch of huge piles of shells, some bagged up in mesh. I have no clue what they’re doing here, but the kids sure had a lot of fun looking at all the cool shells!
She couldn’t hear the ocean in this one. Turns out there was a hole in it. But she managed to find a smaller conch and heard a bit of the sea sounds.
At this point, we’d made it about halfway down the yellow trail, which is 2.18 miles long from beginning to end. We could have gone on, but we didn’t pack enough water (DUH! I can’t believe we Floridians didn’t do a better job here), and Star was breathing really hard. She’s a tiny bit out of shape. (Understatement.)
So we turned around and headed back to the car.
We paused halfway at a covered bench for a rest. Mostly for this little lady’s sake.
On the walk back, Trevor spotted tons of these little guys: fiddler crabs! All of them heading into their holes as soon as we made any noise. Luckily I caught this one in action! They’re hard to photograph!
It was much warmer than we had anticipated, especially considering that the day before we had the heat on in the house! Now, we were sweating like mad and parched! That’s Florida winter for you.
It really wasn’t a bad thing that we only got halfway through the first trail. More to explore next time! There’s a playground at the other entrance I’d like to make it to, but we may have to bring our bikes for that adventure.
Or there’s always kayaking, like these folks!