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Photo at right: The Marie Selby Jungle Gardens

Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Daily.
Admission: Adults $12. Children 4-12 $8.
Children under 4 & members admitted free.
Prices subject to change without notice. Call for current information.
Mote Aquarium is home to more than 200 varieties of fish and invertebrates of the sea. Touch many of these amazing animals in the 30-foot "Contact Cove" or the "Remarkable Ray" exhibit. Visit Hugh and Buffett, two West Indian manatees, along with several sea turtles at the Marine Mammal Center. Mote is also home to "Molly Mollusk", a giant squid specimen and one of only two on exhibit in the U.S.


Besides the very natural beaches that are a popular part of Sarasota's charm, many less well known ecotourism choices await you in this interesting part of Florida. Just a stroll along the shore can be an ecotour, as the gentle surf is constantly depositing prehistoric shark's teeth and marine fossils upon the beaches. Click here for a link to Sightseeing, Day Trips and Tours, here for nearby Oscar Scherer State Park, here for Myakka River State Park and scroll below for a closer look at Sarasota's most popular nature-based attractions.

The Mote Marine Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
City Island, Sarasota, FL 34236
Want to get up-close and personal with a shark? How about an eel, sea turtles or a manatee? Mote
Aquarium's exhibits are educational and fun for everyone.
Hundreds of knowledgeable trained volunteers lend the personal touch to Aquarium visitors, answering questions and explaining fascinating details about over 200 varieties of marine life. The Sea Life Encounter Cruise leaves 3 times daily, seven days a week, past rookeries, shelling and a nature walk on Edwards Island. The boat's trawl net scoops up an amazing assortment of marine life, which are explained and identified by the on-board naturalist. Forty-five minutes before sundown, board the ship to enjoy a stunning tropical sunset and perhaps a visit by local dolphins. Admission: Adults $12. Children 4-12 $8. Children under 4 & members admitted free. Prices subject to change without notice. Call for current information. Mote Aquarium, together with its laboratory's educational programs, makes the exciting world of oceans more understandable and accessible.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens
3701 Bayshore Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34234
Toll Free: 877/861-6547
Bird lovers, garden enthusiasts, photographers and especially kids love this lush tropical jungle. The Jungle Trail winds pass through gardens, lakes and exhibits replete with monkeys, various reptiles, including American Crocodiles, birds of prey, flamingos, Wallabies, Imus, Rheas and much more. An entertaining high-wire bird show starring macaws and cockatoos.

Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary
1708 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, Florida 34236
Open 7 days a week, 10 am to 5 pm
Recognized as the 184th Point of Light by President George Bush, this wildlife sanctuary has rescued and rehabilitated over 50,000 injured pelicans, sea birds and other wildlife. Volunteer rescue teams respond 7 days a week to help injured wild birds and animals within a 50-mile radius. In 1981, Dale Shields noticed an injured pelican while fishing, and nursed it back to health, then returned it back to the wild. After doing this on his own for years, he became known as the "Pelican Man", and the City of Sarasota leased him 2 acres of land on City Island to establish a rehabilitation habitat, a hospital, a flight training facility, a baby bird nursery and aviary, a public viewing area and a welcome center. Admission is free, and donations for this worthy cause are most welcome.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
811 South Palm Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34236
As if stepping into a Rosseau painting, the Selby Gardens enchant the visitor with an explosion of colorful orchids, heliconias, ferns and bromiliads, a tropical rain forest canopy research center and the world's most outstanding collection of epiphyte or "air" plants. A classic southern mansion, the Christy Payne House, is a museum which serves as a showcase for rotating exhibits of botanical illustrations and special events.

Photos courtesy of the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau