What to Do? – Top 10 Sarasota Fun Spots (that are not the beach)

Aside from the beaches, Sarasota is bursting with fun activies for the whole family.When a location is graced with such beautiful, sun-kissed shores as those found on our acclaimed coastline, it is all too easy to lose focus on some of the inland attractions that make that area an exciting, fun-filled place to be. But there is so much more to Sarasota than sand and water. From theatres and galleries to exotic animals and marine life, Sarasota offers a host of activities and places to entice people of any age to get out of the house and out to explore. So, with respect to the award-winning beaches of powdery white sand and sparkling azure water that make our area a world-wide vacation destination, here are the top 10 fun spots found throughout the greater Sarasota area (beaches excluded):

1. Green Thumbs Abound – Best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens offers visitors an intimate look into a beautiful garden of tropical flora. The 9.5-acre bayfront property is an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 colorful plants, many collected in the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens research staff. Spend your afternoon a world away. View upcoming events HERE.

2. It’s a Jungle Out There – Touted as one of the state’s oldest, continuously operating attractions, Sarasota Jungle Gardens brings an Old Florida charm to the world of exotic and rescued wildlife. With over 10 acres of lush vegetation, winding jungle trails and educational animal shows, an afternoon in the jungle offers an up-close look at some of the world’s most interesting critters, both big and small. Plan your visit HERE.

3. Under the Sea – Explore the secrets and mysteries of the sea by spending an education, fun-filled day at the Mote Marine Aquarium. Located on the northern tip of Lido Key, Mote presents interesting exhibits of the deep sea sure to capture the interests of all ages. Get up close to stingrays, manatees, sea horses and more. As the nation’s only congressionally designated Center for Shark Research, you can expect a thrilling experience. Start your trip to the deep HERE.The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art offers a thrilling experience for those who appreciate fine works of art.

4. A Work of Art – Delight your senses in a thrilling display of artistic expression at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. This internationally acclaimed museum showcases a collection spanning more than five centuries, with collections of contemporary art, bronze replicas of antiquated sculptures, decorative arts, and historical circus artifacts. Learn more HERE.

5. Parks and Recreation – Sarasota County has over 120 parks encompassing over 3,000 acres, so just about every community in the area is close to one. Spend the day enveloped by nature at Oscar Scherer State Park, Myakka State Park, Sarasota Bayfront Park and more. Also, a number of dog parks dot the area, so you and Fido can spend quality time. Visit HERE for more information.

6. Live to Ride – Get some fresh air and plenty of exercise on a scenic bike ride. The largest public recreation project ever constructed in the area, The Legacy Trail totals more than 10 miles in length and runs from just south of the City of Sarasota to Venice. Don’t worry, there are frequent rest areas with restroom facilities.

7. Just for Show – Sarasota is well-known as the cultural capital of the state, and for good reason: we have some of the best theatres offering exciting performances daily. Check weekly show times at the Asolo Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, The Players Theatre, The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, The Banyan Theatre Company, Venice Little Theatre and Lemon Bay Playhouse.

8. Hands-On – The Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone, or more commonly referred to as G.Wiz, is a hands-on discovery center for folks of all ages. You can test and experiment with engaging science projects, including renewable energy exhibits, a game of Mindball, and interaction with the Explorazone—filled with tools, levers, pulleys and more. Plus, visitors can enjoy some of the world’s most interesting touring exhibits. For more information, visit HERE.

9. Fore! – With more than 80 courses and gorgeous year-round weather, the Sarasota area is the place for golf. Here in Sarasota, we offer some of the most sophisticated and challenging courses in the region. So, find the one that’s right for you HERE

10. Circle of Friends – Discover a unique shopping and dining experience at St. Armands Circle, where high fashion specialty shops, fine eateries and fun boutiques surround a beautiful park. Centrally located on beautiful Lido Key, an afternoon along St. Armands Circle sums up the exceptional lifestyle of Florida’s Gulf Coast: laidback, beautiful and uniquely elegant.

  • User Gravatar Miranda Oswald
    November 3rd, 2009

    Well don’t forget Lakewood Ranch which hosts events such as Polo, Cricket, Music on Main and countless other events. Tour of Homes starts this week with models and event such as Suncoast Winefestival and Builder Extraviganza weekend. Lakewood Ranch almost warrants its own top 10.

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