Let’s Play at Nathan Benderson Park

lets-play-at-nathanSituated just west of Interstate 75 in Sarasota, Nathan Benderson Park is a unique 600-acre county park providing the public access to a picturesque 400-acre lake and an array of recreational opportunities.

Athletes look forward to rowing on the park’s world-class 2,000-meter sprint rowing and training course, while families and visitors can get on the water in a kayak, rowboat or stand up paddleboard, find a scenic spot to enjoy an afternoon picnic, or walk, run, rollerblade or bike the peaceful, neatly manicured trails encircling the shimmering lake. The choices are virtually endless, and every moment takes place amid the sights and sounds of Florida’s pristine natural beauty.

Before the county purchased the property, the site had been an active shell excavation pit for road construction fill. Today it is a mecca for competitive athletes and families alike. Named for benefactor Nathan Benderson, the park celebrates his legacy and his commitment to health and fitness.

Nathan Benderson Park began hosting organized regatta competitions in 2009. It was recently named the venue for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, the biggest rowing event outside of the Olympics and the largest and most prestigious rowing competition in the world for 2017. With the event will come approximately 42,000 athletes, supporters, fans and tourists over the 10 days of competition.

Paul Blackketter, President of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Association, notes that the park has a four-fold mission: to be a world-class event center, providing economic impact to Sarasota County; to be a community resource that supports health and fitness for area residents and visitors; to provide outreach by serving as the gateway to Sarasota’s natural beauty; and to serve as a venue for elite team training.

“We are a nonprofit organization,” explains Blackketter.” Community programming is key to our mission, and our biggest satisfaction, along with prestigious rowing competitions, is seeing the park used every day by residents and visitors to Sarasota.”

The world class recreational venue provides for community rowing (youth, adults and seniors), adaptive rowing (disabled veterans, youth/adults with mental and physical disabilities), corporate events, training and practice for junior and collegiate crews, local, regional, national and international regattas.

Plan an outing at the park with your paddleboard or kayak; cheer on the scullers, rowers and runners; enjoy a leisurely jog around the lake, or just visit with a Frisbee and picnic lunch. Nathan Benderson Park is the ideal, and idyllic, location to enjoy the beauty of Sarasota at its most pristine.

Location: 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-358-7275.