Robinson Preserve is a family-friendly coastal nature preserve with hiking & biking trails, picnic areas, a boat launch, observation platforms, bird watching, fishing, skateboarding and a children’s playground in NW Bradenton near Tampa Bay. A 487-acre mosaic of mud flats, mangrove swamps and beaches, Robinson Preserve is former farmland in a district of Bradenton known for its tropical plant nurseries. This expanse of waterfront habitats has undergone extensive restoration, from removal of invasive species to re-creating tidal creeks and basins nourished by the rise and fall of Tampa Bay. Its most notable feature is a 5-story observation tower. Climb to the top for a treat: the sweep of Tampa Bay at your feet, with Anna Maria Island, Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto, and even St. Petersburg and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge a part of the scene.
While walking through the preserve, you’ll enjoy some of the best birding on the Gulf Coast, no matter the time of day. There are trails for hikers, cyclists, and paddlers to explore with benches spaced along the way. The Robinson’s Preserve Trail is a 7.4 mile loop trail features a river and is good for all skill levels. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Canoe and kayak rentals are available by reservation only at www.surferbus.com. A public kayak/canoe launch is located at 9800 Manatee Ave. West.
Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology (The Mosaic NEST),
a beautiful new elevated tree house education center featuring classrooms for environmental programs, will be starting programs in the fall. The historic Valentine House, built in the late 1800s on land owned by the Manatee Fruit Company, was moved to the preserve in 2010 and houses a visitor and interpretive center.
The main entrance in Bradenton is 1704 99th Street NW, Bradenton and admission is free. Phone: 745•3723. The Preserve is open 8am to sunset. The gate closes automatically, so be sure to return to the parking area well before the posted time!