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Admission is Free! Visit the Manatee Village Historical Park today!

Special Announcement

In Service Day Closure - Manatee Village Historical Park will be closed, Monday, April 4th, 2016 and will reopen at 9 am on Tuesday, April 5th, 2016.

Times and Locations

Realize Bradenton

The Manatee Village Historical Park is a proud partner of Realize Bradenton. Joining arts, culture and heritage to make downtown Bradenton a unique place to live, work and visit.

Location: 1404 Manatee Avenue East, Bradenton, Florida 34208

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Second & Fourth Saturdays: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Phone Number: (941) 749-7165
Fax Number: (941) 708-5924
E-mail: Manatee Village
View Frequently asked Questions

Manatee Village Historical Park is closed New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July Holiday, Labor Day Weekend, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Weekend, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Upcoming Special Events

Surviving Sarasota book discussion with author, Clarissa Thomasson

Saturday, April 9, 2016 1:00 PM at Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Avenue East, Bradenton. Free presentation. Seating is first come, first served.

Hear award-winning author Clarissa Thomasson share highlights from her novel, Surviving Sarasota, on Saturday, April 9 at 1 PM at Manatee Village Historical Park in Bradenton. The story is based on the lives of William and Mary Jane Whitaker, a couple with “true grit”, who braved the harsh Florida wilderness to establish their homestead at the high Yellow Bluffs on Sarasota Bay in 1851. The couple and their family survived frightening raids during the Seminole and Civil Wars and made local history with a series of “firsts” which the author will disclose.

Their story unfolds against a detailed historical back drop provided by the author at the time of the U.S. government’s Armed Occupation Act, which allowed someone who had fought in the Seminole Wars to build a home and maintain up to 160 acres on unclaimed property south of Tampa Bay. William was an American Seminole War veteran. At that time, Manatee lands took in the region which later became Sarasota County. The early history of both counties is intertwined, going back to the Village of Manatee.

There are many great stories from the book, both about the couple and William and Mary Jane as individuals. Why Mary Jane, barely standing 4 feet, could shoot a turkey through the head at 100 yards with one bullet. She faced the feared Seminoles, befriended Billy Bowlegs, and stood her ground during Yankee raids. Ms. Thomasson will tell her favorite quote spoken by the fearless heroine when the Yankees threatened to burn down their house.

Admission and parking are free for this entertaining and enlightening program. The author will be available following the talk to sign books or answer questions. Seating is available on a first come, first-served basis.

About the Speaker - Clarissa Thomasson received her B.A. in English literature from Duke University and her Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Florida. She taught English literature, creative writing, and journalism in Montgomery County, Maryland, before moving to Nags Head, North Carolina, with her husband. There she pursued her writing career and published her first three novels-- Defending Hillsborough, Reconstructing Hillsborough, and Lorinda's Legacy. In 2000 she and her husband relocated to Venice, Florida, where she published five children's books, called The Little Green Monkey Stories, in 2001. In 2003 Thomasson published her first book of collected poems, Alone. Her first Florida historical novel, Florida Shadows, was published in 2007. The sequel, Florida Secrets, was published in 2009. The third novel of the trilogy, Florida Sunset, was published in August, 2011. The stand-alone novel, Surviving Sarasota, was published in April, 2014. In addition to her novels, children's books, and poetry writing, Thomasson is a freelance magazine writer--having written for GRAND magazine, and having won a 2005 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation award for her contribution to Florida history through her articles in Yesterday in Florida magazine.

This program is produced by Angelina “Angel” M. Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Department of Historical Resources and the Manatee County Historical Commission.

Spirit Voices from Old Manatee: Season VI Production Dates

The Manatee County Historical Commission is pleased to announce the 2016 production dates for Season VI of Spirit Voices from Old Manatee. This popular special event is a key fundraiser benefiting public programming and preservation projects at Manatee Village Historical Park.


Spirit Voices from Old Manatee is an outdoor drama and cemetery tour that premiered in 2011 as an original living history production. Through this program, the Manatee County Historical Commission fulfills its mission: “Preserving our Past to Enrich Our Future”, by educating the public about the lives of early Southwest Florida pioneers who settled this area. Thespians in period dress personify several of Manatee’s early pioneers interred at the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds. Their graveside dialogs are based on narratives from archives, descendants, diaries, military logs, books and legend. The program is an experience like no other, unfolding at the Old Settler’s House at Manatee Village Historical Park with a Victorian wake and continuing by torch-light “on the other side,” at the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds, as the sun sets.

Production Dates:

The 2016 production will take place the second, third, and fourth weekends of October.

Week I: October 6th, 7th, & 8th

Week II: October 13th, 14th, 15th, & 16th

Week III: 20th, 21st, 22nd & 23rd

*Please note for all shows gates open at 6:30 PM, show begins at 7:00 PM.

** All shows take place outdoors, except the Sunday, October 23rd show, which takes place in the 1887 Old Meeting House Church for those who either cannot, or do not wish to, trek through the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds. In case of inclement weather, outdoor shows will be held in the 1887 Church.

On Sale Date: Tickets will go on sale to the public at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, September 6th, 2016. Purchases can be made with cash or check at Manatee Village, or over the phone with Visa, Master Card, or Discover.

This program is produced by Angelina “Angel” M. Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Department of Historical Resources and the Manatee County Historical Commission.

Parking and Map

General admission is free, donations are greatly appreciated. Certain special events require an admission fee. Contact Park staff for details.

Manatee Village Historical Park is primarily handicapped accessible. Due to the historic nature of some of our buildings, visitors may be offered an alternative experience. Call or e-mail for more information.

Google Map to the Manatee Village Historical Park

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