While days on the beach are arguably the best Florida time one can spend, those who live here learn quickly that there’s so much more to enjoy. Here are some of The Duo’s top attractions. For more information, please click on each attraction's link.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: http://selby.org. Once a home to William and Marie Selby, today The Selby Gardens is home to several stunning and rare tropical plants and numerous holiday, charity, and black-tie events throughout the year. Best of all, visitors can observe plant preservation and habitat conservation excellence with an up close and personal bay front view. Picture this: bromeliads and ferns in the foreground, sailboats and the John Ringling Causeway in the background.
- Busch Gardens: https://buschgardens.com. No need to venture inland to Orlando, simply head north to this thrill enthusiast’s theme dream.
Exhilarating roller coasters and wildlife viewing are just 90 minutes away. No hotel necessary, make it a day trip!
- Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: https://mote.org. Do you ever wonder what else swims in the Gulf? Do you have an appreciation for sea life? Then you’ve got to visit the Mote! Located on the boundary of Lido Key and Longboat Key, Mote has sea turtles, jelly fish, two touch tanks, a 135,000-gallon shark habitat, two local celebrities – manatees Hugh and Buffett – and so many more cool creatures!
- The Ringling: https://www.ringling.org. Sarasota‘s alter ego goes by the name of Circus City, and The Ringling is where it’s most celebrated. The Ringling is a staple of Sarasota’s history. While the family left their mark all over town, here is where you can learn about their circus legacy, tour their Italian-inspired bay front winter home, admire their extensive art collection, attend the theater, stroll their rose garden and Thomas Edison-gifted banyan trees, and more.
- Sarasota Jungle Gardens: http://www.sarasotajunglegardens.com. If when you think of Florida you think of flamingos, add the Jungle Gardens to your must visit list just as soon as The SRQ Duo finds you your home. Established in 1939, the Sarasota Jungle Gardens has more than 150 native and exotic animals that all call the 10-acre tropical landscape home. Visitors come to wander the walking paths, hand-feed the flamingos, ride the wooden train, conquer the newly renovated playground, attend a zoo camp, or even have a birthday party. Should you fall in love with one of the many creatures, you can adopt it!
- South Florida Museum: http://www.southfloridamuseum.org. The largest natural and cultural museum on the Gulf coast, The South Florida Museum has a planetarium, aquarium, and museum. Located in downtown Bradenton, north of Sarasota, this attraction’s highlights include fossil evidence of Florida’s earliest mammals and marine species, an astronomy showcase the whole family will enjoy, and the oldest known living manatee named Snooty.
- Sarasota Classic Car Museum: http://www.sarasotacarmuseum.org. Not to toot Sarasota’s horn, but the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is home to John and Mable Ringling’s Rolls Royce collection, John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes, and Sir Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper! And as if that wasn’t enough, there are over 70 other classic carriages including muscle cars, Bentley’s, and DeLoreans. Car connoisseurs will love this attraction, but others will appreciate it too.
- Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary: http://bigcathabitat.org. A non-profit safe-haven for big cats, bears, and other animals, the Big Cat Habitat was founded in order to care for former circus and zoo animals in need. Their goal is to educate the public by fostering appreciation for animals and stressing the importance of habitat preservation.