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Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium picture in Sarasota
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Key Info

Details

  • Zoos and Aquariums Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.8
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    3.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Part-research center, part-aquarium, Mote Laboratory & Aquarium features nine exhibits, including two interactive areas and a 135,000-gallon shark tank. In total, the property houses more than 100 species of marine animals, such as sea turtles, otters and manatees. A 10th exhibit with American crocodiles, alligators and caimans will open in late February.

Recent visitors thoroughly enjoyed this aquarium, citing the array of animals and easy-to-navigate layout as highlights. But some caution that the area gets quite congested in the winter, so consider arriving early. Others warn that the property's entrance fees are high given its small size. Nevertheless, animal lovers and travelers with kids will likely enjoy exploring this facility.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium sits about 5 miles west of downtown Sarasota on the northern tip of Lido Key. Free parking is provided in the on-site lot, and the No. 18 SCAT bus stops twice within a half-mile radius. The facility is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.

To enter the aquarium, visitors are required to pay an admission fee of $19.75 per adult and $14.75 for each child ages 4 to 12. Kids younger than 4 and military personnel get in for free, while seniors receive discounted rates. Tickets can be purchased in-person or online. All ticketholders have access to restrooms, animal talks with the property's researchers and the aquarium's exhibits, including those found in the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center. However, extra charges apply for special lectures, behind-the-scenes tours, sand-sifting equipment for the interactive Fossil Creek exhibit and items purchased in the restaurant and gift shop.

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Hotels Nearby

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  • Hotel
Lido Beach Resort

Lido Beach Resort ...

  • 1.6 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
Lido Islander Inn

Lido Islander Inn ...

  • 1.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Sarasota »

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#9 Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary Animal lovers and families will likely enjoy Sarasota's Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. This attraction has cared for exotic animals like lions, tigers, bears and chimpanzees since ... Read more » Manuela Schewe-Behnisch / EyeEm / Getty Images

Myakka River State Park picture in Sarasota
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art picture in Sarasota
Ca' d'Zan picture in Sarasota
Lido Key Beach picture in Sarasota
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens picture in Sarasota
Sarasota National Cemetery picture in Sarasota
Golf picture in Sarasota
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium picture in Sarasota
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary picture in Sarasota
Myakka River State Park picture in Sarasota
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art picture in Sarasota
Ca' d'Zan picture in Sarasota
Lido Key Beach picture in Sarasota
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens picture in Sarasota
Sarasota National Cemetery picture in Sarasota
Golf picture in Sarasota
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium picture in Sarasota
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary picture in Sarasota

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In addition to serving as a marine wildlife research facility, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has an aquarium with two touch tanks, a manatee exhibit and a 135,000-gallon shark habitat. genenphotos / Getty Images

At the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, travelers can see animals like lions, bears, chimpanzees and tigers up close. Manuela Schewe-Behnisch / EyeEm / Getty Images

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