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Sarasota Water Fountain

Things to Do in Sarasota

Certainly one of the main attractions to Sarasota has to be the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The most notorious of Sarasota's previous residents, John Ringling was partner in the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. However, Ringling was not merely a showman or business tycoon. This successful entrepreneur was also one the "culture barons" of his day. This museum estate treats its visitors to Sarasota Marina Jack Shop one of the world's most important collections of 17th-century Baroque paintings, including pieces by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Velazquez. Known as the Ca' d'Zan, the main building of this gigantic empire resembles a Venetian palace, complete with fountains, vaults, and columns. Of the 31 rooms in the house, the focus is on the living room. The ceiling of this living area rises to over two stories and is decorated with ornamental mythological figures and zodiac symbols. Hung from this elaborate ceiling is the crystal chandelier that once hung in the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This combination of art and architecture in Florida's tropical setting makes the Ringling Museum one of the most unique and dramatic museum complexes in the world.

Sarasota's Natural Attractions

Another must-see attraction for the Sarasota visitor is the Marie Selby Sarasota Beach Botanical Gardens. These gardens, situated on eleven acres, are best known for their collection of more than 6,000 orchids. Stated within the attraction's mission statement is the desire to "stimulate understanding and appreciation of tropical plants. . .through programs of conservation, display, education and research, and to provide enjoyment to all who visit the gardens." This lofty goal is realized through the gardens' utilization of Sarasota Dining open-air and under-glass exhibits. There are seven greenhouses on the premises that provide botanical research and plant identification. Also present are fifteen separate garden areas, the Tropical Display House, the Bamboo Pavilion, the Waterfall Garden, and many more distinct areas of botanical beauty.

Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary

The conservation and appreciation of our natural environment is also the main attraction of the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary is a haven for injured and rescued birds who would otherwise not make it on their own. Besides healing and reintroducing birds back into the wild, there is also a permanent home for those creatures Speedboating in Sarasota who are not strong enough for complete rehabilitation. In the past year alone, over 7,000 birds were saved through this project and 60% were successfully returned to the wild! This facility is entirely open to the public seven days a week and admission is free.

Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is also dedicated to the conservation of our natural resources. The Marine Aquarium has over 200 species of fish and invertebrates to observe and many are included in the facilities' 30-foot touch tank. Besides being a public attraction, the Mote Marine Laboratory offers many in-depth research programs, including the Marine Biomedical Program, the Center for Shark Research, and Environmental Chemistry. The Mote Laboratories also conduct rescue/rehabilitation programs for unfortunate marine life, such as loggerhead turtles and dolphins.


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