Looking for something to do? We are so fortunate to live in a place where people come to vacation! The Sarasota-Bradenton area has so much to offer from beaches and water sports to museums and parks ... there is something for everyone!
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Below are links to some cool places to visit in Sarasota & Manatee Counties and a few that are just a short drive away:
- Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary - Lions, and tigers, and birds? The Big Cat Habitat provides a home for exotic animals in need of food and medical care. Watch entertaining and educational demos, visit the petting zoo and witness majestic creatures in their natural environment.
- Sun-N-Fun - This resort and campground offers your family a fun filled summer with an Olympic size pool, Kids' Activity Pool and play area. Families can also enjoy other recreational activities such as tennis, shuffleboard, basketball, volleyball, and mini and disc golf. They even have dive-in movies in the summer and camps for kids.
- Water Sports - Kayaking, SUP, canoeing, boating, sailing ... a variety of watersports can be found all over our area!
- Siesta Key Beach - One of the world's best beaches for its powder white sand, amazing sunsets, and easy-going waves that are perfect for families. Plus, they have a newly renovated pavilion and playground area.
- Fishing Charters - Grab your poles & take the family on a fishing trip!
- Mixon Fruit Farms - Tour the grove, play in the gardens, see some cool wildlife and then visit the gift shop for some famous Orange Swirl Ice Cream!
- Florida Railroad Museum - The Museum offers one of the most unique museum experiences in the world. Here you "Ride the Exhibits!" The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM, year-round.
- Sporting Events - Head to the ballpark for a minor league or spring training game! Check our Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch or rowing at Benderson Park, car races at Bradenton Motorsports, or ice skating & hockey at Ellenton Ice Rink.
- U-Pick - Visit one of our many fruit/veggie farms and go picking!
- Circus Sarasota & Sailor Circus - A not-for-profit performing arts educational organization. Circus Sarasota currently conducts limited Circus Arts workshops at various times throughout the year. Sailor Circus is dubbed the Greatest "Little" Show on Earth, the circus has performances twice a year. You and your family can watch acrobatic routines and Arial stunts performed by school age children ages 8 - 18 years old.
- Van Wezel Performing Arts Center - During the summer months, the Van Wezel's Friday Fest on the Bay provides an outdoor concert venue for the whole family. This free concert features a different band every Friday, with food vendors and family fun. During the school year, The Van Wezel School time Performances run from October through April for the ticket price of $7.
- The Mall at University Town Center - UTC in Sarasota recently opened in 2014 with tons of shopping & food options!
- Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre - Open every night and year round. Step back in time to the days of drive-in movies and enjoy some flicks with the family outdoors. Load up the pillows, sleeping bags & lawn chairs...sit back and enjoy! Adult (ages 9 & up) $6 child (ages 5-8) $1 Ages 4 & under are free.
- Dakin Dairy Farms - Dakin Dairy Farms is the only dairy farm in Florida open to the public that produces and bottles their own milk right on the farm! 1,000 acres of sustainable family farming just 20 minutes off of I-75 at SR 70 or Fruitville Road offers unique things to do for families
- South Florida Museum, Parker Manatee Aquarium and Bishop Planetarium - Three attractions in one stop. It is also the permanent home to Manatee County's most famous resident and official mascot, ‘Snooty’, the manatee.
- The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is recognized as one of the Nation's oldest continuously operating antique car museums. The museum has rotating exhibits throughout the year featuring antique, exotic, European and one-of-a-kind car classics.
- Miniature Golf - There are great places to play a round of mini golf with your family in Sarasota & Manatee Counties! Our mini golf courses have everything from indoor, outdoor, glow-in-the-dark, alligators & more. Try Evie's, Saturn 5 or Smuggler's Cover just to name a few!
- Mote Marine Aquarium - At Mote Aquarium, you can explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable-working labs and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory. See sharks, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life.
- Siesta Key Drum Circle - As the sunsets on the horizon, people are serenaded by the sounds of different percussion instruments and revelers dancing to the beat of the drums. Bring the family, blankets and chairs every Sunday to the Siesta Key Public Beach. Festivities start about an hour before sunset.
- Linger Lodge Restaurant and Resort - Linger Lodge is the perfect place to recapture those lazy, carefree times. Large, live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss shelter the restaurant and campground. This is "Old Florida" at its best. Located in Bradenton, on the picturesque banks of the Braden River, Linger Lodge is untouched by time.
- Sarasota Family YMCA Water Park - Next door to the Selby Aquatics Center, your kids will enjoy the Josephine Lofino Splash Park. This park includes a variety of waterslides, water cannons and splash pools free to members of the YMCA, or $10 for non-members. Parents can rest easy on the sun deck while toddlers and children play. A full-service concession stand makes the water park a perfect spot to beat the summertime heat.
- Manatee Village Historical Park - Step back into time at the Manatee Village Historical Park. Visit this collection of restored buildings from Manatee County’s settlement history and experience life in Manatee County before the arrival of modern conveniences such as automobiles and electricity.
- Stardust Skate Center - Your child can roller skate, play arcade games and eat nachos at Sarasota's largest air-conditioned roller skating/dance arena.
- The Children's Garden - Follow the yellow brick road into a land of make-believe. The Children's garden, located near downtown, is a two-acre interactive garden for kids where imagination blossoms and nature play is getting your hands dirty! This interactive park with whimsical creatures, hidden mazes, playground, acting stage, costume playhouse and special events for children of all ages to enjoy.
- Crowley Museum & Nature Center - Children can enjoy the pioneer history of our area while exploring nature trails and the Myakka River. The attraction includes a museum with artifacts from the late 1870's to the early 1900's, a one-room homestead cabin, and a working sugar cane mill.
- Hunsader Farms - 80 acres of vegetables, fruit & fun offers many children and family friendly events and activities throughout the year. Take your children on a farm tour and pick vegetables. Special events are held at the farm throughout the year like the Pumpkin Festival, which is held for 5 days in October.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - is a "tropical oasis nestled on the bayfront of Sarasota". This botanical garden is a 9.5-acre, open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 colorful plants. Children will be interested in the Butterfly Garden and the Children's Rainforest opening soon.
- Ringling Museum - On Saturdays, the focus is on families! Family-friendly tours and activities are available in different locations at the Museum during Saturday Family Days. Programs are included in the price of regular Museum admission and designed for children 4 and up.
- Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Acres of beautiful gardens and nature trails make this a perfect setting for birthday parities, summer camps and educational bird and reptile shows.
- Save Our Seabirds is dedicated to the rehabilitation and community education of aquatic birds. Families can tour the facility and enroll their child in educational camps offered throughout the year.
- Historic Spanish Point - Learn about the "4P's "of Prehistory, Pioneer, Palmer and Plants. Take time to learn about Florida's early pioneer history from one of the largest intact prehistoric villages and learn about one of Sarasota's most influential pioneers Bertha Palmer.
- Myakka River State Park - is one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks. The "Florida Wild and Scenic Myakka River" flows through 57 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands. Myakka is popular for hiking, fishing, camping, and wildlife observation.
- Oscar Sherer offers 15 miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas that provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Fresh and saltwater fishing is popular, too.
- Florida Aquarium - Come discover one of the best aquariums in the country and a premier Tampa Bay area attraction! This wonderful family destination has plenty of fun activities like Swim with the Fishes, Penguins: Backstage Pass and a Wild Dolphin Eco-tour. Don't miss Explore A Shore, our outdoor water fun zone for the children!
- Museum of Science and Industry - offers fun for all ages, from toddlers to adults, a unique hands-on science experience. Affectionately known as MOSI, it is the largest science center in the south. In addition to being home to Florida's only IMAX Dome Theatre, MOSI also boasts Kids in Charge!, the newest and largest children's science center in the United States. The IMAX Dome Theatre at MOSI, a 340-seat theater with an 82-foot hemispherical movie screen, immerses viewers in an experience combining state-of-the-art cinematography.
- Adventure Island - When the summer heats up, try soaking, sun and relaxing at Adventure Island. This water park is modeled around the laid-back Florida Keys lifestyle. The family will enjoy over 30 acres of water-soaked excitement. Ride slides, waterfalls, a giant wave pool, a rambling river, and other family attractions provide hours of sun-drenched fun.
- Busch Gardens - Experience up-close encounters with amazing animals while taking an unforgettable safari across the Serengeti Plains. The park has 4 pulse-pounding roller coasters, stage shows with animals, and colorful live entertainment all year long.
MORE LINKS TO EXPLORE WHAT OUR AREA HAS TO OFFER:
- Trip Advisor's Top Attractions in Sarasota County
- Florida State Parks - Explore all of the unique state parks that Florida has to offer. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Myakka-River
- Manatee County Parks - Visit one of the many parks in Manatee County!
- Discover Natural Sarasota County is a site featuring a directory of Sarasota County parks and nature areas. The site offers information for parks, attractions and other outdoor activities in Sarasota County.
- Sarasota County Parks & Recreation - See what events & activities they have to offer and explore the many public parks in Sarasota County.
- Sarasota County Library and Manatee County Library provides a calendar of programs offered at all the public library locations. You can also search for programs specifically for your child's age.
- Free Summer Bowling - Kids can bowl for free this summer. You must register through the web site.
**Please check back as this page is update often. If you have an idea to add to our list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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