Saturday, May 7, 2011

AMI where we love to forgot the world

Anna Maria Island specifically the city of Anna Maria on the island. My grandparents lived here and I loved visiting them, it was like going to another world. There isn't a lot to do there but that is part of why we love it so. One of my favorite trips was just Jason and I for 5 days. It was wonderful and we did pretty much nothing the whole time. My grandparents lived closest to the Tampa bay side of the island. We loved getting up early and going out on the Anna Maria City pier and look for dolphins and watch the fisherman. There are always pelicans on the pier hoping for a kind fisherman to share his catch. At night it is just as interesting. One night we watched a fisherman try to bring in a nurse shark. He wrestled and wrestled that nurse shark walked him down the pier and just before he got him to shore the line broke and the shark got away. He didn't want to hurt the shark just wanted a picture with him. From the pier we also saw a manatee swim under the pier. It was amazing.
The gulf side of the island has big white beaches. On my trip with Jason we would go out on the gulf side beaches and just be. There is nothing like just being. I would lay and read and he would wander the beach looking for creatures and shells. Another treasure of the gulf side is the Sand Bar restaurant. The food is good, but we loved sitting outside and watching the sunset with our feet in the sand and for me at least sipping a chocolate martini.

Another awesome feature of the island is you don't need a car in order to get around. They have a free trolley the runs to take you to all the neat sites and beaches. Another mandatory stop when we go to Anna Maria is the City Jail. We have been going to the jail every trip since we were kids and is a required stop on each visit. After you grab your snapshot in front of the jail you can check out the Historical Society and learn a little about the history of the island and even see a military uniform donated by my grandfather.
If you want to leave the island which on our trip we left just to visit this place. This is my happy place. I love to go here. It is Mote Marine laboratory and aquarium. You can see a giant squid. When I say giant we are talking 27 foot giant. It is no longer alive but still cool to see. They also have sharks, dolphins and manatees. The have a contact cove where you can touch starfish, sea urchins, horseshoe crabs and other sea creatures. But my all time favorite place. My happy place, the place that I can spend hours and in fact I did just that on our trip is the Sting Ray Touch Pool. I find the sting rays to be the most fascinating creatures and to be able to touch them was just amazing. They have their stingers removed so they can't harm you and I have never seen them even attempt to try and harm anyone. They just swim by and if they want you to touch them they swim up so you can reach them and if they don't they stay just far enough away that you can't reach them. It truly was my happy place. I can't wait to go back and visit my little sea friends.
There is more to do around the island and just off the island but these are our favorite things to do on the island. We haven't made it back in 4 1/2 years and man I can't wait to go back down there. If you need to just get away from it all visit Anna Maria I promise you won't regret it and you will leave dreaming of when you can come back.

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