marie selby botanical gardens

Take a two-hour road trip from Naples to Sarasota County, where you’ll find some of the best spots for family fun in Southwest Florida. Sit in amazement while watching a circus performance, stroll through a botanical garden, or greet a loggerhead turtle — all on a visit to Sarasota. There’s no shortage of educational, affordable, and interesting things to do with your family while in Sarasota County.

Sarasota County Family Fun

  1. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. Home to over 100 marine species, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium can give your family an up-close view of marine animals and fish. Highlights at Mote include two touch tanks, a 135,000 gallon shark habitat, and actual working marine laboratories.
  1. Tibbals Learning Center. The Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling Circus Museum features the world’s largest miniature circus. The 3,800-square-foot display includes the big top with circus performers as well as the performers’ living quarters and dining tent.
  1. Sarasota Children’s Garden. Children can dress up in fairy costumes, walk the plank on a pirate ship, or climb up a mountain of painted truck tires at this two-acre wonderland in downtown Sarasota. Check the Garden’s list of special events and holiday happenings so that you can plan your visit.
  1. Ann Goldstein’s Children’s Rainforest Garden. Located at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Ann Goldstein’s Children’s Rainforest Garden takes children through a wooden fort high atop a 100-year-old Banyan tree. The fort is outfitted with swinging bridges and a twelve-foot cascading waterfall.
  1. David F. Bolger Playspace. Don’t miss this modern playground with colorful basket swings, a massive slide for older children, and a water fountain. The best part? Admission to the David F. Bolger Playspace, including the gardens and grounds of The Ringling, is free.
  1. Circus Sarasota. Sarasota is just as famous for its circus heritage as it is for its beaches. Buy tickets in advance, and take the family to see one of the Circus Sarasota year-round performances under this one-ring European-style big top.
  1. Dakin Dairy Farms. Covering over 1,000-acres, Dakin Dairy Farms is a place where both the young and the young at heart can entertain themselves for hours while experiencing a six-acre corn maze, farm tours, and hayrides.
  1. Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Admire the 150 native and exotic animals on display at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. From parrots and iguanas to alligators and primates, this family-owned attraction strives to educate through interactive experiences with animals.
  1. Siesta Key Beach. While Sarasota County is made up of over ten different beaches, Siesta Key Beach has been voted a top beach in America due to its powdery white sand. The recent renovation to Siesta Public Beach has added a large play area with swings.
  1. Myakka River State Park. The river and two lakes at this state park provide opportunities for family fun while boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. In addition, Myakka River State Park offers miles of hiking and biking trails, wildlife viewing areas, guided nature tours, and camping.

Don’t think that one visit to these Sarasota family fun spots means that you’ve seen it all. Places like The Ringling, Mote Aquarium, Marie Selby Gardens, and Sarasota Jungle Gardens almost always have new exhibits and shows suited to kids of all ages. Now that you have a list of 10 family fun spots in Sarasota County, call Easy Escapes RV at (863) 450-4915. Take a look at a pre-owned RV that can make family road trips more comfortable while saving you money on hotel rooms.