By Jane Bartnett
Family fun doesn’t get much better than spending time on the water on the area’s only motorized bumper boats in the calm, shallow basin of Phillippi Creek.
“Bumper boats are a hit,” said Richard Campbell, who owns Siesta Key Aqua Adventures. “The summer season is our busiest time of the year when families come to the Siesta Key area for vacation.”
If you’re ready to get wet and have a great time zooming around on a colorful inflatable mini boat, head over to Bigfoot’s Bumper Boat Adventure at Siesta Key Aqua Adventures, at 5253 S. Tamiami Trail. Each small bumper boat is equipped with a 2.3 horsepower outboard engine and the propeller on each vessel is safely encased in a protective cage. The boats are launched in the shallow waters that lie directly behind the business. At high tide, Campbell said the water in the immediate area is approximately 2.5 to 5 feet deep.
Each bumper boat can seat one driver who’s 50 pounds or more and two passenger who are less than 50 pounds. Overall weight capacity is 300 pounds.
A person must be at least 7 years old and at least 50 pounds to operate a boat.
Everyone, and that includes adults and kids alike, must wear life jackets that are provided when they’re in the bumper boats.
A Siesta Key and Sarasota native, Campbell said one of the best things about the bumper boats is watching the families being together and enjoying their time on the water.
“Everyone has fun and it’s a great activity for all ages. Kids, parents, grandparents — everybody has fun in our bumper boats. Teens really enjoy it too,” he said.
Siesta Key Aquatic Adventures has eight inflatable bumper boats available for rent seven days a week, all year long. The fee for a one half-hour rental is $43. The boats can be reserved during daytime hours in half-hour increments, starting at 10 a.m. each day. The last rental of the day is from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made online at siestakeyaquaadventures.com, or by phone at (941) 359-2782.
During their half-hour rental period, drivers and passengers can take turns piloting the boats or cruising around as a passenger. “There’s also great seating on the water’s edge,” noted Campbell. “It’s a fun place to watch everyone in the group having a really good time.”
Of course, Bigfoot also stands watch on the shoreline. He’s always ready to join you for a selfie at the end of your adventure.