Florida National Parks
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The mission of De Soto National Memorial is to preserve the controversial story of this four year, four thousand mile odyssey and interpret it's significance in American history. Visitors can attend living history demonstrations, try on a piece of armor, or walk the nature trail through a Florida coastal landscape similar to the one encountered by conquistadors almost five hundred years ago.
P. O. Box 15390
Bradenton, FL 34280-5390
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Operating Hours & Seasons
Visitor Center is open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Park grounds are open dawn to dusk. Parking lot gates close at 5:00 p.m.
Sarasota-Bradenton Airport (20 miles) Tampa International Airport (50 miles)
De Soto National Memorial is located at the northern terminus of 75th Street North West, Bradenton, Florida. Visitors can reach the park from I-75 or I-275. From I-75 follow State Road 64 west (also Manatee Avenue), for approximately twelve miles to 75th Street West. Turn right (north) onto 75th Street West, and proceed two and five-tenths miles to the park entrance and the terminus of 75th Street.
From I-275 exit 1, follow US-19 into Bradenton. Turn west onto State Road 64, for approximately five miles to 75th Street West. Turn right (north) onto 75th Street West, and proceed two and five-tenths miles to the park entrance and the terminus of 75th Street.
De Soto National Memorial Visitor Center
Open All Year 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
Terminus of 75th Street West in Bradenton, Florida.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
In our Visitor Center Theater we show the twenty one minute film entitled, "Hernando De Soto in America", which is shown throughout the day. This film depicts the four year, 4000 mile journey of Soto and his men, throughout what is now the southeastern United States. Other educational films are available to groups with prior arrangement. Contact the park for futher information.
The visitor center offers museum exhibits that relate the story of the expedition and its impact upon Native Americans and Florida. Included are 16th century artifacts such as armor, weapons, examples of indian pottery, and projectile points. Detailed maps trace the route of the expedition, highlighting significant incidents and features. An outdoor exhibit on the north porch shows probable archaeological sites associated with the four year trek.
Bookstore, Restrooms, Payphone, Indoor Water Fountain, Loaner Wheelchair, Outdoor Water Fountain, and Outdoor Dog Fountain.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Winter is normally mild with occasional periods of temperatures in the 30's and 40's. Summer is normally hot and muggy with both temperature and humidity exceeding 90. Click the "more" link below to be redirected to a site which features local weather conditions.
Park facilities are wheelchair accessible. A standard wheelchair is available for visitor use on a free loan basis.
Fees - Free!
De Soto National Memorial is free to the public. Donations are accepted and help support Park Operations.
Interpretive Programs, Nature Walks
Livng History programs are conducted daily from mid-December through mid-April. Rangers and Volunteers dressed in period clothing present talks on a variety of historical topics related to De Soto's Expedition & demonstrate weapons/crafts. There is a ten table picnic area next to the parking lot. Large Groups & Schools should call ahead.
The Nature Trail winds along the shoreline and through several Florida ecosystems; including a mangrove forest like the one de Soto's men would have encountered when they landed. Click on the "Nature Walks" link on the left to download a trail map and guide. Bicycling is not allowed. Dogs are permitted with a hand held leash.