De Soto Memorial a haven for history, nature

- Cindy Lane | Sun

BRADENTON – De Soto National Memorial is open, now that another federal government shutdown has been averted.

The park had closed its exhibits and programs during the 35-day federal government shutdown that began on Dec. 22, 2018.

Admission is free to the 27-acre national park at 8300 Desoto Memorial Highway.

Upcoming events

  • De Soto Ranchero Fishing Clinics: Monday, March 25 and Thursday, March 28 from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free fishing clinics open to ages 7 and up, including tips on knot tying, casting and fishing regulations, with fishing from the shores of the park.
  • Camp Uzita Living History: Thursdays through Sundays through April 12, presentations are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors get a unique look into Spanish and American Indian life in the 16th century. Park staff offer talks and demonstrations on the lasting impact De Soto had on the history of America and its native people.
  • Five Centuries of Florida History: Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 30 re-enactors portray men and women from Florida’s history in camps with displays, talks and demonstrations throughout the day.
  • De Soto Landing: Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Conquistador Hernando de Soto and his crew comes ashore and claims Florida for Spain. Talks and demonstrations continue all day about De Soto’s expedition and its lasting impact on early American history and the native people of the Southeast.
  • Ranger Led Kayak Tours: Signup begins April 1 for tours running from May through October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. Go on a guided paddle with park rangers; kayaks, gear, and safety equipment are provided. Tours are limited to 10 visitors per trip. Inquire in the visitor center for details and to sign up.