Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Mote Marine TurtleExplore the secrets of the sea through touch pools and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory. Mote Marine Aquarium features a 135,000-gallon shark habitat, touch pools for stingrays and other sea life, manatee, dolphin, and sea turtle exhibits, and more than 100 species of marine life. Be sure to drop by the Immersion Cinema that features a 40-foot-wide High-Def screen and interactive console that allows you to affect the outcome of the movie. The aquarium also features a rehab hospital for sea turtles and is a world-renowned research and conservation facility. You can also witness their scientific research, as it happens, in viewable working laboratories.

The Aquarium’s 135,000-gallon shark habitat, Shark Zone is also home to the world’s largest grouper species (the goliath grouper) and other popular Florida game fish. Learn how Mote cares for the sharks and the training methods they use to keep them healthy.

Breakfast with the Sharks, Shark Encounter, kayak trips, and interactive hands-on eco-boat tours are just a few of the ways to experience this Sarasota family fun attraction. Mote Marine Aquarium also hosts special kids holiday themed events. 

Mote Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236. Just a few minutes from downtown Sarasota by way of the Ringling Causeway, and one mile north of St. Armands Circle. Mote Aquarium is located on City Island.


10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays.


Call (941) 388-4441 or email

Mote Marine


Sea Turtle Nesting Time on Siesta Key

Sea Turtle Nesting Time on Siesta Key

Siesta Key and other surrounding beaches (Lido Beach, Casey Key, Longboat Key, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, Venice beach, Casperssen Beach) have a  special time of year. From late April to November, it’s turtle nesting season. Sarasota County has the highest density of loggerhead sea turtles nesting on Florida’s west coast.  You may notice areas roped off and marked with caution tape indicating a sea turtle nest.  During this time, sea turtles come up on the beaches and dig into the sand to lay their eggs.  On average, turtles lay 100-120 eggs in a nest and about five to seven nests in one season. After about 55 days, the hatchlings break out and crawl down to the water.  If you are in the right place at the right time, you may see five of Florida’s 30 different types of turtles on your visit to South Florida, including loggerhead, leatherback, green, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley.  There’s nothing like the sight of sea turtle hatchlings making their way down to the warm waters of the Gulf.

If you see sea turtle hatchlings that are not making their way to the water or if you notice any unusual sea turtle nesting activity, you are asked to call Mote Marine Laboratory’s sea turtle program at 941-388-4331 for instructions.


2017 Siesta Key Triathlon

The 33rd Annual Siesta Key Triathlon will be held September 30, 2017. This is “The Original” that started the multi-sport movement in this part of the country back in 1985. A non-profit fundraiser benefiting the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swimming program, it is well known for its enthusiastic yellow sea of volunteers as well as the post-race feeding frenzy provided by the parents of the Sharks.

No race day registration (only packet pick-up race morning)

Expo & packet pick-up
Friday, September 29, 4-7 pm
Siesta Key Beach, Sunset Pavilion

USAT RULES – Every participant (including all relay members) must show photo I.D. and USAT card to pick up packet (or purchase 1 day license for $15 cash or check only at packet pick-up).

More information




Shelling on Siesta Key and Sarasota Area

Shelling Siesta Key Sarasota Venice CaspersenThe key thing about shelling is to know the Tide tables, since the best shells are found just before low tide.

Another great time is after a storm passes.  Cold fronts tend to push water away from the beach and tropical storms churn up the water bringing shells ashore like augers, left handed whelks, and coquinas.

Need to identify the shells you find – check out this site  Shell Museum.  

One rule of thumb: If you see something still living in a shell, leave it on the beach.

Siesta Key

Siesta Key beach has awesome sand, but isn’t the best place around for shelling.  There are plenty of coquinas though.  Head to the southern end of Siesta Key to Turtle beach for better shelling.  If you kayak or walk south from Turtle beach you can get to the area known as Midnight Pass, which is a closed in pass.  Fewer visitors = more shells. You can find  a variety of shells including crown, fighting, and horse conches, and banded tulips.  Or, you can  head north on Siesta to the public access on North Shell Road.  The beach at North Shell Road faces Lido Key and Big Pass.  The sandbars there produce sand dollars, augers, lightning whelk, spiny jewel box, and olives at low tide.  Watch for the currents though.


Looking for  fossilized shark teeth? Venice beach has some and if you head a bit further south from Venice beach, you will happen upon Caspersen Beach, which is ideal for shelling and finding sharks teeth including Megalodons. If you are really into it, you can pick up a shark tooth sifter, known as “Florida snow shovels” at the Osprey Walmart, or a local tackle store.  Check out the Venice Fossil Guy.

Longboat Key

On the only public beach, Whitney Beach, you can enjoy relative solitude by grabbing a patch of sand that feels miles from your nearest neighbor.  You’ll find shore birds a-plenty including pipers, egret, pelican, heron, petrels, gulls, and skimmers.  Keep you’re eyes peeled, because It’s not unusual to spot pods of dolphin fishing in the surf and sea turtle nests protected by tape and stakes along the shore.  Longboat has great shelling.  Sand dollars, spiny jewel box, augers, olives and lightning whelk can be found as well as others.








The Ringling

The Ringling Museum The Ringling, including the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, is home to one of the preeminent art and cultural collections in the United States. Rainy day on the key – drop by to explore this 66 acre estate of John and Mable Ringling which also includes the Circus Museum, Ca’ d’Zan,The Historic Asolo Theater, Bayfront Gardens and more.

Museum of Art:  The museum of Art, which has no charge to visit on Monday’s is located in an attractive building with pink colonnades that you will see as you start your tour of the museum grounds.  The building was built in 1929 to hold John Ringling’s considerable collection of art works. Built in Renaissance-style around a sunken garden of fountains and statues, the building itself is worth a second look. Docent-led tours take your through the galleries or you can opt for a self-guided tour. Either way, it’s worth watching the 30-minute film about the lives of John and Mable Ringling. The museum is home to a creditable collection of masterpieces from names such as Rubens, Titian, Velazquez, and Gainsborough. John Ringling was able to buy many artworks from European estates that were being sold off due to death taxes or to maintain the estate during this tough economic era.

Circus Museum: There is a huge model recreated village showing the extent of this traveling circus which was transported by rail car. In it’s heyday the circus had around 800 animals, tents, wagons, sideshows and 1300 staff to make it all run smoothly. The Ringling’s had their own plush railcar which is now restored and on display.  See the grandeur of the circus in its heyday  – the parade wagons, roustabouts, the posters, the incredible costumes, and the cannon that shot daring performers through the air. Wonder at the 44,000-piece Howard Bros. Circus Model celebrating the entertainment that has thrilled America for generations.

Ca’d’Zan: Next to Hearst Castle or the Biltmore, Florida’s Cà d’Zan, or “House of John” has little public attention, but it was created from the same desire to create one of the country’s most elaborate private homes. Built in the 1920s by John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus, and his wife, Mable, the Venetian-style mansion dominates 20 acres of Sarasota waterfront, accompanied by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The home of the circus king and his wife, Ca’ d’Zan stands as a testament to the American Dream of the Roaring Twenties. Designed in the Venetian Gothic style, this dazzling palatial mansion perfectly captures the splendor and romance of the Italy that John and Mable loved so much. 

Bayfront Gardens: The Ringling Bayfront Gardens are a living treasure. Courting couples statuary watch over Mable’s Rose Garden, which she created it in a formal Italian wagon-wheel design. Today, more than 1,200 rose bushes make up her rose garden. The garden is filled with swathes of magnificent banyan trees.  Be sure to stop by to delight in the whimsy of the Dwarf Garden and more. 

Historic Asolo Theater: Created in Asolo, Italy in 1798, brought to Sarasota in the early 1950s and painstakingly restored in 2006, the Historic Asolo Theater is one of the most beloved objects in The Ringling collection.








AquaPalooza 2017

AquaPalooza Longboat Key New PassTo put a little fun in the dog days of a Siesta Key summer it’s the AquaPalooza 2017, an on the water party for boaters with music and fun.  Tie your boat up to the party where you can enjoy music, free Giveaways, and more! AquaPalooza takes place on a sandbar near Jewfish Key, a private island, near Longboat Key. The fest is being called “the largest party on the water” by organizers. East of north Longboat Key. Have fun, stay safe and be safe. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Party will be at Jewfish Key Sandbar from 10 AM – 4 PM. Please RSVP at the link below! Remember all giveaways are first come first served! Don’t miss out!  Don’t have boat – stop by My CB’s or Siesta Key Marina and rent one.







Siesta Key Nightlife

Beach Club Siesta Key Nightlife

Chill out and enjoy hand-crafted cocktails at the Beach Club on Siesta Key in Siesta Key Village.  Featuring occasional live local and national bands, the hottest DJ’s around and outdoor seating this trendy club keeps the tourists coming back night after night.

The Daiquiri deck, a local favorite is popular with all, from families to retirees to students on break.  The Daiquiri deck is a great place to have a nice meal, and sit outside sampling a wide variety of daiquiris, watching people walk through the village, or stop down at their new location on Stickney Point Rd.

Gilligans Island Grill prides itself for providing the best quality of foods, cocktails, service, atmosphere and local entertainment on the Key.  Walking in, you’ll see there are  options on where to spend your time at Gilligan’s. Take it all in and look around a bit. They have a new Tiki Bar and Thatched Tiki Roof – the largest Tiki Bar in the Sarasota area – a great place to  waste the night away in Paradise.  Head inside and you will be treated to some of Siesta Key’s best live bands that play their front deck area daily from 6-10pm and weekends from 2-10pm. Take a selfie in front of the VW Bus that is parked in front of Gilligans Kitchen.  Stroll in a little bit further and you find yourself in the Gilligan’s Main Bar area which exudes a certain Old Florida Charm complete with surfboards, A/C, numerous flat screen T.V’s, great service and almost always a great collection of salty locals enjoying a well deserved break in the day.  Be sure to check out their Back Beach Patio and enjoy some relaxation under the palm trees. On cool nights they may have a fire pit going to keep with the feel of paradise.  At night the flickering Tiki Torches and cool breeze off the Gulf are exactly what you have been looking for.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar (or as the locals call it “SKOB”) has a  laid-back, beachy vibe that will transport you right into the Island Spirit. When you’re at SKOB you feel right at home, like you’re hanging out with good friends on your back patio.  One of the things that sets SKOB apart from the other bars in Siesta Key Village is that they have some of the best food on the Key.

Blasé Café touts itself as ‘home to Siesta Key’s best martinis’. Located close to the beach in the heart of Siesta Key Village, Blasé cafe features craft cocktails and like music starting at 6 pm. In a colorful old home with al fresco seating & a martini bar serving eclectic island-inspired eats.

And many more…


USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour Championships Siesta Key

USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour Championships  Siesta KeyThe USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour Championships will be held on Siesta Beach July 20-25.

The event is a tournament-style competition highlighting more than 400 teams from across the country,composed of coed youth ages 10-18

In a press release from Visit Sarasota county, Sarah Thomas, sports sales manager said “The Sarasota County Sports Commission is very excited to host the Junior Beach Tour Championships,” 


The opening three days, July 20-23, will see the Boys’ 12 and under and 14 and under Open and Club play, along with Girls’ 12 and under through 16 and under Open and Club divisions competition. The final days, July 23-25, will feature the Boys’ 16 and under through 18 and under and Girls’ 14 and under through 18 and under play in both the Open and Club divisions.

General admission to the tournament and parking are free, but get out early because with the added crowds, the lot will fill up.




Friday Fest at the Van Wezel

July 21, 2017: Friday Fest ’17 is a free concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  Enjoy an evening on the bayfront and some free live music with Kettle of Fish, one of the hottest live acts in Southwest Florida.  Kettle of Fish features blues, soul and funk with the energy of rock ‘n roll. Kettle of Fish make old songs new again, and their originals sound like classics – from Blues to Bluegrass; Hank Williams Jr to Jimmy Hendrix. They have opened for some of the biggest bands on the road, including Roger Waters, Dickey Betts, Eddie Money and many more.  Bring lawn chairs or a blanket, sit back and enjoy the music along with the beautiful Sarasota sunset along with food and beverage from local vendors. Outside food and drink is prohibited. The free concert is rain or shine, and moves indoors in case of inclement weather. Friday fest is July 21 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. 





TreeUmph adventure course

TreeUmph Adventure Course TreeUmph is an exciting adventure that everyone will enjoy! Get your feet off the ground and into the trees at TreeUmph! Adventure Course, Southwest Florida’s first treetop obstacle course!  At TreeUmph! you’ll feel the incredible exhilaration of climbing, swinging , zip lining, and free-falling from 15 to 60 feet in the air –  all while harnessed to equipment designed with the most rugged materials and highest safety standards. You will start out on the Beginner’s Course and then progress through five increasingly difficult courses. See if you can make it to the Extreme Course, a total test of agility, strength, endurance and nerves. TreeUmph is located on a 14-acre nature park  and contains 5 world-class adult courses from Beginner to Extreme, a Children’s course (ages 7 & 8), 76 treetop adventure games, wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings and even more .  Be sure to check out the  650-foot-long zip line. Although it’s a self-guided adventure, you’ll get plenty of safety instruction before you take to the tree tops.  The courses range from 2 hours to 4 hours.   There is no charge to park or for admission to watch your family and friends while they play in the trees.