This past weekend I took my family to Ken Thompson Park on City Island in Sarasota. The weather was gorgeous, with sunny skies and a gentle breeze. I knew that the park would be the perfect place for a picnic and an afternoon of play. We stopped for a picnic lunch right by the water and saw this beautiful scene before us.

While we ate, we saw children frolicking in the water while their parents fished or read or talked with family. It was easy to see that everyone was enjoying the nature surrounding them on this beautiful day. My son was excited to see  kayakers—some with their fishing gear and some just paddling through the brisk water. He excitedly told me that he wants to get his fishing license so he can wade fish and then get a kayak to fish from too! There are lots of small rocks near the shore, and he enjoyed tossing them in to see how the water moved around them.

We moved on to the two playgrounds that sit near the water. This equipment is in excellent shape and attracts both small and older children. Once you finish with the slides and rock-climbing wall, you can move on to the next playground that has monkey bars and swings. These are nicely situated by the restrooms, always a plus when you go somewhere with children. After some of the energy wore off, we went on to explore the neat boardwalk nature trail that follows the water.

This well-kept path usually has lots of fiddler crabs to keep you company, but we didn’t see any this visit. You meander amidst the mangroves until you come across the walkway that juts out into the water. We stopped there for a while and watched the boats and traffic on the bridge.

After this side-trip, you hop back into the mangroves and find your way to the sidewalks near the boat ramp. We kept on walking to the free water ski show put on by the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees. This is always a favorite Sunday adventure. My son thinks he might want to try waterskiing when he is bigger. It’s fun to watch them leap and jump and twist and make pyramids in their energetic show. We ended our trip to the island after the show, but one could always visit Mote Marine or the Save Our Seabirds sanctuary or grab a bite to eat at the Old Salty Dog. I highly recommend this day trip to any local resident or visitor. Don’t miss experiencing this beautiful site.