Families will surely enjoy Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, located at the north end of Lido Key at City Island. Featuring sharks, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and 100 other species of marine life, staff members are there to educate and answer your every question. It’s good to plan for a Monday, Wednesday or Friday visit as those are the feeding days for SHARKS… and… every day kids can slip their hands in touch tanks and pet a sea cucumber, starfish or sting-less baby ray.

From there, get on the water with the Sarasota Bay Explorers for a true interactive marine science expedition. Offering sea life encounter cruises, guided kayak tours and a nature safari, the staff is friendly and informative on the history and wild life of the bay. The nature safari is (hands on… find your own creatures) while the sea life encounter is for those less interested in holding a slimy creature. The biologist led experience provides interesting information and a cruise on the bay is a spectacular way to spend an afternoon. You can sign-up for your excursion right outside the Mote Marine entrance.

Across from Mote Marine is “Save Our Birds“, where recovering shorebirds are up-close and personal. Travel the boardwalks on two waterfront acres and see spoonbills, sand hill cranes and the “endangered” brown pelican. The sanctuary is free to visitors and donations are much appreciated.

There’s also a FREE Water Ski Show every Sunday, February – May at 2:00pm on City Island. The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees are located beyond the parking lot for Mote Marine and Save our Birds. Come see the three tier pyramid with exciting jumps, barefoot skiing, ballet, swivel, trios and doubles! 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, City Island

More family activities and day trips can be found HERE.