Hernando De Soto explored the West Bradenton area for gold and other riches on 1539. The city was named in tribute to Dr. Joseph Braden who provided refuge in his fort-style home to residents during Indian uprisings. The current version of the city was established in 1943 by merging the municipalities of Manatee and Bradentown.
Residents and tourists enjoy the excellent beaches and numerous quality golf courses. Myakka River State Park features an abundance of wildlife and rare birds. At the nearby Ana Maria Island, visitors have opportunities to see egrets, manatees, dolphins and other types of wildlife. Sola Bay is popular for fishing. Opportunities for swimming, jet skiing and windsurfing are available at Anna Maria Island and the Longboat Key Beaches. Bradenton Beach, situated on Anna Maria Island is a popular tourist destination. Nearby LECOM Park is home to the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training team.
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