Anna Maria Island Theatres and Museums

Aside from the beach, of course, Anna Maria Island has much to offer in the way of history and culture. Since it can’t be beach weather all the time, we wanted to share some of our favorite museums, theatres, and general historical sights and sounds you can discover on your next stay in one of our Holmes Beach rentals, in the heart of Anna Maria Island.


The quintessential Anna Maria museum is the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. It captures the essence of the island’s history throughout three distinct and very different exhibits. The first is the historical society visitor’s area. It features artifacts and other noteworthy items throughout the island’s history, painting a story of daily life. Through photographs, letters, and instructional plaques, you can begin to see what it was like for an early resident circa 1800.

The second main exhibit here is the historic icehouse, a small but delightful little site that was home to local ice-making in the 1920’s.

You can also explore our personal favorite treat and possibly the oddest site here; the Anna Maria City Jail. Very small and certainly lacking new world amenities , this jail is the oldest on the island. Now, it’s all but three walls and a stone slab. But with neat markings and some context, it’s a really cool thing to see (and take a photo with!).

The historical society is also part of the City of Anna Maria Historical Park. As you traverse the exhibits outside, be sure to enjoy the gardens and pathways featuring tall palms and white sand.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Attendance is free, though a donation is welcomed by the local volunteer docents. Currently, guests are limited to five for safety measures.

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society is the only traditional museum on the island. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Bayfront Park. With some historical plaques, it is a major part of the area’s history. We also recommend DeSoto National memorial Park just off the island in Bradenton. The living history camp really brings to life the region’s farming history.


The Island Players is the definitive island theatre- a wonderful place to see an inventive local show. It was founded in 1949, and has hosted innumerable shows throughout the decades, like Relatively Speaking, Oliver, and I Hate Hamlet.

The theatre is undergoing a grand reinvention and has been closed to the public since mid-2020. Guests can still visit the theatre from the outside and see the interesting building, with its quiet white patio and Old Florida vintage aesthetic. But even better than that, we recommend signing up for a live virtual show! The theatre is putting together A Christmas Carol for the close of 2020. Visit the website [link] for more details.

Plan Your Anna Maria Island Vaction

We love sharing our favorite Anna Maria Island things to do with you! Looking for the best spot to grab a latte or the most rewarding and quiet location for a romantic evening by the water? Seeking a dolphin sighting or looking to get the most out of the Anna Maria Island beaches? Our team would love to provide suggestions for a well-deserved and long-awaited vacation getaway!

The theatre is located on the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue. It is located within a short walk of the famous Sandbar Restaurant near the heart of historic Anna Maria downtown.

While Island Players is the only theater on Anna Maria Island, you can head to Bradenton to see a Broadway touring show at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. Shows are currently closed, but visit the website for details on how to get involved.