While in Bradenton, we decided to head back south to visit the Myakka River State Park east of Sarasota. We had tried to get a RV spot there but they were fully booked. The park is one of the largest and wildest of the state parks. It is over 58 square miles of lakes, rivers and wooded areas with an abundance of wildlife. It is very popular year around and the tram and boat tours require some advance planning to get a seat. The lake is popular for kayaking and fishing despite the fact that the other big attraction is the large alligator population.
We did manage to get tickets for a ride on the largest air boat in Florida and enjoyed a narrated tour of the lake. Clearly the big attraction was the alligators but it was a nice ride on a sunny day, as well.
Returning from the boat ride we checked the area around the gift shops and then headed to the forest canopy trail and observation tower. Some of the trail was blocked due to heavy rains, but you had a great view of the forest from the ground and overlooking the forest canopy from the tower.
It is a very nice park and if you have the time, there are many miles of trails to explore.
As we were heading to the state park, we passed the Sarasota National Cemetery. While we had not known that it was there, we made a point of stopping on our way back. It was established in 2010 in fertile farm fields east of Sarasota. These national cemeteries are a last way for our country to honor those who served, especially those who have sacrificed so much to protect this country. Whenever we have the opportunity, we visit these very special places.
There were two funeral taking place while we visited and the web site mentions that they expect on average 10 funerals a day for the next ten years as the WWII and Korean era veterans pass on.
This is certainly the newest one we have visited and exceptionally well done. There is also an interesting story behind the center piece Patriots Plaza that was build without federal funding by the Patterson Foundation. This is a must see place.