While vacationing on Siesta Key, you may choose to explore some of the popular tourist attractions around the greater Sarasota area. If you're seeking to explore attractions about the history of Sarasota, The John and Mable Ringling Estate and the Ringling Museum are popular destinations. If you're seeking to explore animals, Florida sea life and wildlife, then Sarasota Jungle gardens, Mote Marina Laboratory, Save Our Seabirds or the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary are top destinations. If you're seeking to explore the natural Florida landscape and the great outdoors, then Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Historic Spanish Point or Oscar Scherer State Park await you. Lastly, if you're seeking to explore the arts and cultural scene of Sarasota, catch a play at the Asolo Repertory Theatre or watch a circus performance by Circus Sarasota.
The Ca' d'Zan is the home of Circus King, John Ringling and his wife, Mable. Officially completed in 1926 after two years of construction, the 36,000 square-foot home sits on the edge of Sarasota Bay offering spectacular water and sunset views. This five-story, 56-room home, which occupies 1,000 feet of waterfront property, is properly named Ca' d'Zan which means "House of John." Tours of this great estate are offered daily from 10am to 5pm.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses the personal art collections of John Ringling, Circus King, who lived from 1866 till 1936 (70 years). While building his Florida home (Ca' d'Zan) in 1925, John Ringling started construction on his personal museum on the same grounds to house his art collection. The museum officially opened to the public in 1931. Today, the museum attracts visitors worldwide to view his vast collection. Tours are offered daily 10am - 5pm.
Located on the grounds of the Ringling, the Asolo Repertory Theatre is a premier professional theatre and a driving force in Sarasota's rich arts scene. While in town, swing by the Asolo to watch one of their plays and/or theatrical experiences. The theatre commonly draws crowds of over 100,000 persons during each theatrical season (Nov - Jul).
Looking for a fun family event? Come visit the Sarasota Classic Car Museum located just south of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on US 41. Travel back in time and see the evolution of the automobile from the horseless carriage to modern and even futuristic cars. The museum features over 75 cars and is open daily.
Located south of University Parkway on US41 (Tamiami Trail), Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a popular Sarasota attraction to view a variety of birds and animals including pink flamingos, parrots, crocodiles, lemurs, snakes and more. Located on 10 acres of lush, tropical landscape, bird and reptile shows are performed daily. An on-site Café offers a great selection of tasty snacks, salads, sandwiches, ice cream and more. Open daily from 10am - 5pm.
St. Armands Circle, located and the end of the John Ringling Causeway, is an upscale shopping center of 130+ stores that attracts visitors from around the world. With its many upscale restaurants of varied cuisines and boutique retail destinations, St. Armands Circle makes the perfect family destination to take a stroll after a day at the beach. The Circle also hosts a number of local events each year including arts and craft festivals, exotic car shows and live entertainment.
Located on Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island, just before the bridge to Longboat Key, Mote Marine Laboratory is a non-profit marine research center and aquarium that is home to a wide variety of marine life including sharks, manatees, dolphins and sea turtles. Open daily to the public, they provide visitors an up-close and personal experience with two touch tanks and a 135,000 gallon shark habitat.
Situated on City Island next to Mote Marine Laboratory, Save our Seabirds is an outdoor, three-acre bird museum to view and explore over 150 bird residents on-site. As a local non-profit organization focusing on rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick and injured wild birds, they rescue approximately 5,000 animals every year. Their Wild Bird Learning Center is open to the public daily from 10am till 5pm and makes for a fun and educational experience.
Located on Sarasota Bay, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a world-class center for plant education, research and conservation. They feature many gardens including tropical, rain forest, banyan, bamboo, butterfly and more. Selby Gardens is open daily from 10am - 5pm for the public to come and tour their beautiful landscapes in an urban oasis. If you're visiting the gardens around the holiday season, make sure to tour their spectacular lighted garden display which takes place in the evenings.
A great video overviewing Circus Sarasota. Video created by CircusArtsSRQ.
A great video overviewing Circus Sarasota. Video created by CircusArtsSRQ.
Sailor Circus Arena Map |
Circus Sarasota Big Top Map
The Circus Arts Conservatory, headquartered in Sarasota, is home to world-class performances, excellence in training for the Circus Arts and community-based educational and humor therapy outreach programs. The Circus Arts Conservatory provides public performances at two locations including the Sailor Circus Arena (Bahia Vista and 41) and the Circus Sarasota Big Top (behind the mall at UTC). To view a calendar of upcoming performances, click below.
Built in 2010, Ed Smith Stadium is the Spring Training Home of the Baltimore Orioles. Located just north of downtown Sarasota at the intersections of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, Ed Smith Stadium is a popular attraction for tourists and Sarasota locals during the spring training season each year, which takes place in the month of March.
Seeking a fun adventure to get up and close with big cats such as lions and tigers, then come on out and visit the Big Cat Habitat just east of 75 on Palmer Blvd. Founded in 1987 by Kay Rosaire, the Big Cat Habitat is now a non-profit organization (2005) which provides a safe home for big cats and other exotic wildlife in need of a permanent home. Kay and her son Clayton provide guided tours and training shows with their resident big cats on an on-going basis.
Located on Little Sarasota Bay, Historic Spanish Point is a 30-acre outdoor museum offering an opportunity to learn about the prehistory of SW Florida. With its beautifully landscaped gardens, walking trails, and outdoor splendor, Historic Spanish Point is a window to Florida's past. The park is open 9am - 5pm Mon - Sat and 12pm - 5pm Sunday.
Experience Old Florida and its wildlife at Oscar Scherer State Park. Located a few minutes south of Sarasota Square Mall on US 41, the 1,300+ acre State Park offers visitors a great natural preserve to view native Florida birds, alligators and tropical vegitation. The park also offers many recreational activities including canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking and camping just to name a few. Open daily from 8am till sundown 365 days a year.
Venice's award-winning theatre is the largest and most active community theatre in the southeastern United States. It offers a full slate of nationally-renowned concerts, stand-up comedy acts and special events. Visit their website below for more info.
The Venice jetty is a popular destination for many to enjoy Florida sunsets and to watch the local boating and watersport activity. With its rock-lined walkways that extend several hunded yards into the gulf, the jetty is a man-made structure designed to protect the shoreline and access to the Intracoastal waterway and nearby tributaries. The jetty is accessible on either side including Venice and South Casey Key.
Extending 700 feet into the gulf of Mexico, the Venice fishing pier is a well known landmark of the area. Open daily from 6:30am till 9pm, the pier is free for all to explore. Whether you seek to catch your next meal or to take in a Florida sunset over the gulf waters, the Venice fishing pier is a popular destination to see Florida from a unique perspective.
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