In recent years, my family has traveled down to Florida to stay with Rob’s Gramma and enjoy some baseball during Spring Training. This year was no exception. It’s always interesting to visit new spring training ballparks as they are all different for better or worse.
Wednesday, we left after work and drove to Rob’s Gramma’s house in Spring Hill, Fl. We got there in the middle of the night and went straight to sleep. The next morning we visited a bit and then got on the road to Sarasota. We checked into the hotel (Ramanda). This hotel is located on the Sarasota Bay waterfront, which made for nice views. I’m actually not sure why I don’t have pictures of the waterfront…weird. We walked around a bit and then ended up eating at the hotel, which was called The Bearded Clam. Good food at decent prices.
After dinner it was time to get to the game. Spring training games are usually around 1 or 6. We saw the Phillies play the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium with a 6:05 pm first pitch.
Ed Smith Stadium
One thing I loved about this park was all the art painted along the stadium walls.
There was lots of food options at this park from a sit down Cafe 54 to Baltimore’s Esskay hot dogs and crab cake sandwiches. They also have a plethora of beer options.
Friday we got up and made our way from Sarasota to Bradenton, which is only about 15 miles north.
On our walk from where we parked to the stadium we noticed this cute little area down the street from the ballpark.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates @ Bradenton, 1:05 p.m.
Renovated: 1993 & 2013
I enjoyed watching Pittsburg’s mascot, Pirate Parrot.
It was St. Patty’s Day so we saw lots of festive folks.
After the game, we made a quick stop at Sunset Beach in Tarpon Springs, Florida on the way back to Spring Hill.
Saturday we drove to Dunedin (dun-EE-din), which is one of our favorite spring training towns.
We parked at this quaint little parking lot. I loved this eye painted on the tree.
And this mural? We even found a Corgi!
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ Dunedin, 1:07 p.m.
Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
Renovated: 1977, 1990 & 2002
Their Blue Jay mascot, who I believe is called Ace, was pretty entertaining to watch.
Since we’ve been to see the Blue Jay’s the last 2 times you can read more about this park on my posts from previous years linked below.
Sunday we got up and visited a bit more with Rob’s Gramma and family. Then, we headed for one more adventure before making the trek back home. We stopped at Homosassa Springs, which is one of the best places to see manatees. There’s lots of other animals in the park from bobcats to bald eagles. We also go to hear about and watch a very famous hippo named Lu, who used to be in tv shows and movies.
We took the quiet boat ride hoping to see some more manatees, but no such luck that day.
We stopped at Monkey Island Restaurant. However, after standing there a good 5 minutes, we decided to leave and go somewhere else.
Want to know more about our other Spring Training Trips? >>>> Spring Training Trips
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