Become An Explorer with the Cortez Passport

Become An Explorer with the Cortez Passport

On May 16th, members of the media got a sneak peek at an exciting new initiative for the city of Cortez – The Cortez Passport. This cooperative neighborhood initiative was created by local Cortez merchants in support of the Florida Maritime Museum (FMM). Kristin Sweeting, Florida Maritime Museum Supervisor, believes this will introduce more people to this historic village-  learning about where it’s been and helping support where it’s going.

Florida’s oldest active fishing village of Cortez spans just 2 miles but is home to countless unique eateries, adventures, and shops. The Cortez Passport hopes to not only give Cortez residents and regulars the opportunity to take a step out around different parts of their neighborhood but also introduce outsiders to this vibrant community. Designed to turn visitors into “Cortez Explorers” this passport acts as a guide to Cortez with a fun twist. Explore Cortez, collect stamps, earn a t-shirt.

“We want to make Cortez a destination” Dan Alderson of Tyler’s Ice Cream explains.

Dan’s lived in Cortez for over 20 years and leisurely walks the village every morning, frequently noticing a new offering. When he shared this with another Cortez local, Bob Slicker from Swordfish Grill and Tiki, they both bonded over their love of Cortez and charity.

Dan and Bob then talked about their desire to bring more people to Cortez and specifically, to help support the non-profit Florida Maritime Museum. It was then that the idea of the Cortez Passport was born.

Become An Explorer with the Cortez Passport“We’re all in the same boat. It’s all about community – bringing people to the village and connecting those that are already a part of it” Bob Slicker shared with the press.

Bob and Dan have called the Cortez Passport a kind of community passion project for quite some time and started talking with other local Cortez businesses about their potential involvement soon after their initial conversation. It was when Liza Kubik of the Seafood Shack came on board about a year ago that things really started moving. 

The Cortez Passport features 27 unique locally-owned businesses. Pick up a passport, visit a merchant, get a stamp. Once you have received 12 different Passport Stamps from 12 different merchants, you take your Passport to the Florida Maritime Museum to receive your official Cortez Explorer t-shirt! No purchase necessary, but fun guaranteed.

It all kicks off on World Ocean’s Day, June 7th, from 6-8pm at the Florida Maritime Museum’s Coastal Community Celebration. FMM invites the community to check out all of the new (and old Florida!) things their museum has to offer. During this free, family fun evening, FMM and the merchants of historic Cortez Village will be launching the Cortez Passport Program. There, you can pick up your passport and let your journey towards becoming a Cortez Explorer begin!

Enjoy this after-hours exploration of Florida’s maritime heritage at the Florida Maritime Museum. For more information, please call 941-708-6120 or visit

Florida Maritime Museum: 4415 119th Street W Cortez, FL 34215

Participating businesses and local non-profits include: AMI Dolphin Tours, Annie’s Bait & Tackle, Beach’n Rides & Rentals, Bradenton Boat Club, Bunny & Pirates, Cortez Bait & Seafood, Cortez Café, Cortez Deep Sea Fishing, Cortez Kitchen, Cortez Surf & Paddle, Cortez Watersports, Flippin’ Mullet Sports Bar, King Triton Excursions, Legend Fishing Charters, O’Shucks Raw Bar & Grill, The Sea Hagg, Seafood Shack, Star Fish Company, Swordfish Grill, The Beach Shop, Tide Tables, Tyler’s Ice Cream, YOLO Adventures, and WAVES Social Boat Club as well as the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, Cortez Cultural Center, and the Florida Maritime Museum and Folk School. 

photos by Molly Slicker

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Anna Maria Island, Bob Slicker, Bradenton, Cortez, dan alderson, fishing village, Florida, Florida Maritime Museum, gulfcoast, kristin sweeting, liza kubik, local business, passport, Seafood Shack, small business, Swordfish Grill, Tyler's Ice Cream

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