Recently Buddy Bison and I got the chance to visit the De Soto National Memorial. The 26-acre park is located in Bradenton, Florida.

De Soto welcome sign

After spending the afternoon at the park, Buddy and I came up with a list of five must-do activities at the park:

  1. Learn the history of the park! De Soto National Memorial is named after Hernando de Soto. He was a Spanish explorer who came to the area in May 1539. I won’t tell you how his exploration ended – you will have to visit the park to find out more. 
  2. Try on European armor! The park has helmets, breastplates, and more to try on. I was surprised how heavy that armor actually was. I can’t imagine walking or running with it on. Buddy tried on the helmet!
  3. Bring your four-legged friend and together became BARK Rangers!
    The dogs must be on a leash and successfully complete four activities. After these are completed, the dog and human companion will be sworn in as BARK Rangers. And the dogs earn a special BARK Ranger Dog Tag!
  4. Go Bird Watching! DeSoto National Memorial is home to a wide variety of birds such as gulls, great egrets, herons, and American white pelicans.  If you are lucky, you might get to see bald eagles looking for food on the Manatee River!
  5. Take a fishing class! The park offers the De Soto Rancho Fishing Clinic for adults and kids ages 7 and up. Participants learn about fishing equipment, casting, fish identification, and know tying!  To sign up, call 941-792-0458. Buddy and I hope to wet a line next time we visit.
Buddy with an armored helmet

I hope you get a chance to visit this park. It is mostly swampland, so don’t forget your bug spray!