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Travel Tips




Spend the day exploring marine life near the Sarasota Bay

The Mote Marine Aquarium is much more than a place to observe marine life at its finest, but also a place where extensive research and rehabilitation of these beautiful marine creatures takes place. The Mote Marine Aquarium most often makes its mark on the map for the awe inspiring 135,000 gallon shark tank where you can catch a shark eye view of the inhabitants from down below or enjoy a view of their fins from the surface. Since sharks have long been abundant inhabitants in the Sarasota Bay area, researchers watch their habits both in the shark tank and in the ocean to better understand the habits of these mysterious creatures. The Mote Marine Aquarium is a great place to observe sharks from a safe distance.

Of course dolphins are another favored mammal at the Mote Marine Aquarium and these mammals are taken special care of, as most are in the process of rehabilitation from an accident in the open ocean. Watch special trainers work with the dolphins as they learn how to interact with other dolphins and regain their strength in the training pools.

Special to the Florida area and to the Mote Marine Aquarium are the beloved and endangered Manatees. Hugh and Buffett are resident manatees at the Mote Marine Aquarium, where they originally came on a temporary basis from Miami in 1996. Both were born in captivity and bring a great deal of intrigue to the Sarasota aquarium, since Manatees are difficult to sight in the open ocean.

Don’t forget to ooh and ahh over the enormous sea turtles, Hang Tough, Shelley, Montego, and Edgar. Most of these turtles were born in the wild but ended up at the Mote Marine Aquarium because of an accident.  You can also visit the touch tanks with marine animals like sea urchins, guitarfish, and horseshoe crabs that are sure to excite the small child in everyone with just one touch.

The Mote Marine Aquarium does not end with merely a day of performances or touch tanks but also works in conjunction with Sarasota Bay Explorers to provide Aquarium visitors an opportunity to explorer the real ocean. With an hour and a half boat trip, the crew will bring marine life into the boat by net, explain the marine life and throw it back to the water. It is hard to consider this exciting boat ride educational, but it is! It is best to make reservations ahead of time or when you first arrive at the aquarium since the boat trips only a limited amount of visitors.

For adults the Aquarium costs $15, boat excursion, $24 or combination $30. For children 4-12: the aquarium costs $10, boat excursion $20, or combination $24. Children under 4 are free at both locations. To visit the Mote Marine Aquarium call 941-388-4441 to make advance reservations for the boat excursion or just show up at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway. Go over the J. Ringling Causeway to Longboat Key and you will immediately see signs for the Mote Marine Aquarium. The Aquarium is open daily 10-5; boat tours run daily at 11, 1:30 and 4.

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