Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

#8 in Best Things To Do in Sarasota
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium picture
genenphotos/Getty Images

Key Info

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

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.

See all Hotels in Sarasota »

More Best Things To Do in Sarasota

Myakka River State Park1 of 8
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Myakka River State Park

Considered one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park stretches across 58 square miles of wetlands, hammocks, pinelands and prairies. The area also features a river and two lakes, making it a prime place to enjoy water activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Or, visitors can tour the lakes via one of the attraction's airboats, which are the largest in the world. Land-based tours are offered seasonally as well.

Though some travelers caution that finding the park's entrance and parking near the lake's main activities can be a bit of a challenge, many agree that this scenic spot is a must-visit for nature lovers. All sorts of animals – including alligators, roseate spoonbills and armadillos – are known to frequent the area. What's more, the park offers nearly 40 miles of hiking trails – including one walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground – and several biking paths.

Read more
The Photography Factory/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Sarasota »

Explore More of Sarasota

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019