When most people think of the beautiful South Florida Museum in downtown Bradenton, they naturally think of the beloved Snooty, the manatee. I’m sure Snooty is on everyone’s minds due to his recent induction into the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s oldest manatee in captivity”. True Snooty fans also know that the manatee has a birthday coming up on July 21st. Snooty will be 67 years old.
What most people may not know about this downtown attraction is that it has more to offer than Snooty, and even more to offer than what they saw last time they visited. The South Florida Museum has a gallery that is consistently changed to bring new exhibits to the museum. Right now, Mayan Medallion is featured. What sets this Mayan exploration apart from other cultural features the museum has displayed in the past is the interactive component. This exhibit has a worksheet for kids to complete as they walk through with their families. While the interactive activity is geared toward children, anyone is allowed to grab a clipboard and join in on the fun, I certainly did!
When the museum opens a new exhibit like Mayan Medallion, they bring out pieces of their own collection that tie into it. These are local pieces that have ties to the ancient culture that is on display. To go along with the Mayan exhibit, the museum has a modern Mayan textile collection on display just outside the exhibit entrance. Only about 30% of the museum’s entire collection is ever on the floor at one time. With the displays constantly changing, there is always a reason to revist!
I think it is important for people to know just how expansive the museum’s collection is. Between the items on the floor, as well as the portion of the collection that is kept in storage, the museum has roughly 60,000 pieces in their collection! While there are permanent exhibits that are always a part of the South Florida Museum experience, I came to realize on my tour that there is plenty more to see from visit to visit. The museum staff works works hard to display different aspects of their collection on the floor for people to enjoy.
Another interesting piece of information I picked up while I was in the lobby of the museum is that admission tickets are good for an entire day after they are purchased. This means that visitors can leave the museum at any time to explore other aspects of downtown — maybe grab some lunch at any of the great restaurants on Old Main Street, or get some fresh air by taking a leisurely walk down Riverwalk. Then, they are able to come back to the museum and pick back up where they left off. I think this is great because it encourages people to take their time soaking in all the information the museum has to offer, and encourages them to explore the other aspects of downtown Bradenton!
Currently, for the month of July 2015, the museum is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. In August, the museum will be closed on Mondays, but will still be open the other six days of the week at the same times listed above. All other information about the museum, including admission prices can be found on their website!
Continue to follow me this summer through my many adventures in downtown Bradenton!