With a population of about 53,000, Bradenton is the largest of Manatee County's six municipalities. Here are some interesting facts about the "Friendly City."
History: Discovered by Hernando Desoto in 1539, Bradenton was incorporated as a city in 1903. The city is situated between Hillsborough and Sarasota counties and is 14 square miles.
Government: Bradenton City Hall is at 101 Old Main Street and is open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Bradenton's mayor is Wayne Poston. City Council meets twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month.
Manatee Players: The Manatee Players is a national award-winning theatrical group. Manatee Players has a theater at 102 Old Main Street and awaits a new performing arts theater that is under construction.
ArtCenter Manatee: The ArtCenter is at 209 9th Street West. It houses three art galleries and five studios and offer a range of art classes. Classes include oil painting, watercolors, photography, pottery and jewelry making.
Snooty: Go to the Parker Manatee Aquarium in the South Florida Museum 201 10th Street West to meet the world's oldest living manatee in captivity, Snooty. Each summer, the museum hosts a birthday party for Snooty.
Manatee Village Historical Park: This national historic site is at 1404 Manatee Avenue East. Visitors explore what life was like for early pioneers of Manatee County. There are notable buildings to visit which include the first courthouse in Manatee County, the Bunker Hill School Experience and Wiggins General Store.
McKechnie Field: The stadium on 9th Street West, near 17th Avenue West, has been home to the Pittsburgh Pirates every spring since 1969. The original stadium was built in 1923, renovated in 1992 and seats 6,500, putting fans close to the field. During 2008 spring training McKechnie hosted its first night game.
South Florida Museum: The museum at 201 10th Street West is home to a state-of-the art domed theater at the Bishop Planetarium and Snooty the manatee. It's the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida's west coast and is one of the oldest operating museums in the state.
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