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“Historic trip”

Manatee Village Historical Park
Ranked #5 of 35 things to do in Bradenton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Manatee Village Historical Park's mission is to preserve and share the heritage of Manatee County’s founding period (1840-1918). We do this through our museum and collection of historical and replica buildings. We typically display 2-3 exhibits on a variety of topics related to our mission. Our permanent exhibit is “One Century Plus of Ranching in Manatee County.” Our buildings are furnished to display what life was like in early Florida. In addition to our exhibits, we also host special events like lectures, book signings, festivals, workshops, and demonstrations. Manatee Village operates thanks to a unique public-private partnership through the support of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller and the Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc.
Reviewed 18 June 2018 via mobile

This historic park is a real gem. You have to make this a must see destination. This place has some real gems to see.

1  Thank Carlcapt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"general store"
in 25 reviews
"train engine"
in 5 reviews
"suggested donation"
in 4 reviews
"blacksmith shop"
in 4 reviews
"experience life"
in 3 reviews
"cracker house"
in 3 reviews
"authentic buildings"
in 3 reviews
"small site"
in 2 reviews
"steam locomotive"
in 2 reviews
"united methodist church"
in 2 reviews
"pioneer days"
in 2 reviews
"fascinating insight"
in 2 reviews
"local history"
in 6 reviews
"manatee county"
in 7 reviews
"piece of history"
in 2 reviews
"manatee area"
in 2 reviews
"early florida"
in 3 reviews
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3 - 7 of 145 reviews

Reviewed 21 April 2018

A 1914 steam locomotive, cracker house, boatworks building, old general store, schoolhouse, and a courthouse to walk through. The day we visited, there was also a sweet cat, and a rooster crowing on the property! Interesting history.

Thank NanSea03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2018

Manatee Village Historical Park is a collection of historical buildings (mostly) included in a fenced complex on the east side of Bradenton. The complex began apparently with the donation of the Old Meeting House, a church donated by the Manatee United Methodist Church and moved to the present site in 1975, and has grown from there. The day we went, the museum was offering a free one hour tour in celebration of the March opening of Manatee Village’s new exhibit on women’s history in Florida,and the docent guide would offer insights into the impact of women in Manatee County and on historic preservation (particularly women's roles in saving the buildings now located at Manatee Village). While in theory one could appreciate the connection, frankly, our guide did not enhance the experience. She began with many details of what was going on in the US at the time - too many in my opinion - and then provided the statistics relating to Manatee County. But statistics don't tell stories and that's really what I look for with a docent guided tour. It's also my expectation that a docent guide should practically have the guide book to their museum memorized, but ours was not able to answer even the most basic questions about specific buildings, and the tour did not include all the buildings on site (and why not?). We found the guidebook much more interesting and backtracked to visit some of the buildings the docent guide did not cover, like the boat works, the blacksmith shop and the turpentine still. What I appreciated about the guidebook was how it provided a history lesson with interesting information about FLORIDA pioneering - i.e., Florida barns sheltered supplies, not livestock because of the warm FL climate. I actually would like to return if and when the museum offers reenactments of some activities and skills of old FL pioneer days, but would want a better trained guide. MVHP operates in a public/private partnership and the suggested donation is worth it regardless, but don't bother with the docent guide for now. Remember too this is an open air museum.

Thank JWJB05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2018 via mobile

This unique park is a great way to visualize and experience life in early Florida firsthand. You can easily find this free historical park by looking for Old Cabbagehead (locomotive) by Manatee Avenue. Start at the general store for your orientation. There are some unique items to check out in the general store. The rest of the time is for you to stroll through the park at your leisure exploring the courthouse, farmhouse, church, school and other buildings from early Florida history. The buildings and exhibits are very well done and exceeded my expectations. Give yourself a couple hours to thoroughly check everything out. Good place to go on a cloudy but rainless day as all is outside.

Thank TFopinion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 March 2018 via mobile

As a frequent winter visitor to the area have wanted to visit the park for some time. A chilly but sunny morning provided the perfect opportunity for walking the grounds and building interiors. Found locating the entrance and parking area a little convoluted.

The admission free park ($5 suggested donation) officially lists 16 points of interest but the main attractions are the general store (the only building original to the site), the boat works, a "cracker gothic" home, the church, a one room schoolhouse, and the courthouse which date from 1860 to the early 1900s. Each of the buildings are open for viewing, have local historic origins, and are generally furnished to reflect their original functions. Be sure to pickup the free guidebook in the Wiggins General Store near the entrance which provides a layout of the park and some general background information on each of the points of interest. Note the general store also contains a gift shop and some interesting displays on the second floor.

While I enjoyed and found my nearly two hours exploring the park informative I thought the grounds seemed in need of some attention. Some of the restoration and artifact placements struck me as lacking historical accuracy. The assistance and direction of trained historians and curators coupled with adequate funding could make the park a real community asset and visitor destination.

Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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