Enjoy The Thrills And Spills Of Tampa Bay Theme Parks
Tampa Bay has long been renowned for its world-class theme parks and attractions. The African safari-themed Busch Gardens has thrilling white knuckle roller coasters as well as rides for younger children and a zoo.
In the Tampa Bay area, you can also find the Florida aquarium which covers a huge 200,000 sq ft. You can see many species of fish and aquatic mammals and learn about the aquariums coral, shark and sea turtle conservation efforts.
If you are still seeking attractions why not visit the animals at Zoo Tampa or cool off at Adventure Island, Tampas largest water park.
Bradenton/sarasota Rainy Day Activities
Rainy day activities in Bradenton or Sarasota can be fun too! Sometimes it rains in the sunshine state. But that doesnt mean you have to have the rainy day blues. Check out these fun things to do in Bradenton or Sarasota on rainy days.
Jumpin Fun Inflata Park: 7321 Trade Court, Sarasota FL, 941-388-JUMP. This facility is open 7 days a week. This fun zone has over 20 different attractions to choose from. Whether you want to try the moon bounce, the summit rock climb or the wipe-out balls, you wont be bored this rainy day.
If you go to their website you can save time by filling out your info and getting your tickets online. That way, when you get there, you can get the fun started ASAP.
Ice Skate at Ellenton Ice Rink: 5309 29th St East, Ellenton FL, 941-732-3663. Even though it may be hot outside, you can still ice skate indoors.
If you dont have ice skates, no worries! You can rent them there. Ellenton ice rink has public skating. On Saturday evenings from 8 PM to 10 PM you can skate to DJ music. No matter what your skill level is, you are welcome to skate at any of the public times.
Skyzone Trampoline: 6180 Edgelake Drive, Sarasota, FL, 941-363-6359. Check out the new attraction, VR and transform your own video game character & play in 360-degree worlds. Or if you crave more adventure try the Zip Line course. There are over 18 attractions to have fun with.
Stroll Around The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Fronting Sarasota Bay, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a beautiful spot for a relaxing stroll, even if you’re not a garden enthusiast. Peaceful sitting areas punctuate the 15-acre grounds, so you can linger and soak up all the scenery. You can also venture along a wooden boardwalk through mangrove forests and see beautiful views of the bay.
Botanical highlights include one of the world’s most spectacular displays and collections of orchids and bromeliads. Other impressive specimens include, bamboo, ferns, cycads, and magnificent old banyan trees that are almost 100 years old.
Kids love the koi pond and butterfly garden and the elevated children’s rainforest garden. This popular area features hanging bridges, a waterfall, an Amazon village, and an adventure trail with treetop-views of the tropical plants. After admiring all the botanical beauties, you can shop for souvenirs in the on-site gift shop.
If you still want to be awed by more botanical specimens, head south to the Historic Spanish Point Campus in Osprey.
Big plans are afoot at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. A 92-million-dollar, three-phase plan is just starting that will see a new research center, archive facilities, a restaurant, restoration of the original mansion plus a new parking garage, a greenhouse, and pedestrian promenade.
Address: 900 S. Palm Ave, Sarasota, Florida
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Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
For fans of entertainment, taking a trip to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is among the best things to do in Sarasota, Florida.
Not only is it a landmark for architectural marvel, its also a happening, fun venue that houses all sorts of theater, comedy, music, and dance performances.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall was built from 1968 to 1969, using donated funds from none other than the titular Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel.
Renovations done in the year 2000 kept the spot up to date, and it has a 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer that fits 350 individuals, while the whole hall has a 1,736-person capacity thanks to the Bayfront lawn and Terrace.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall also has an education center that offers programs for people of all ages.
Its romantic, exciting, and a great spot to watch some good live shows and even if youre not into that, the Sarasota trail system winds through it, so you can walk by to catch a glimpse of the marvelous structure in person.
Address: 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States
Comb The City With A Scavenger Game
Looking for a novel way to explore the city, solve clues and compete against others at the same time? It sounds like a scavenger game is right up your street.
Use an app to find objects, score points and complete challenges, all under the supervision of a local host. Try to get the most points and make it to the top of the leader board. Will you take the challenge?
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Go Wild At The Sarasota Jungle Gardens
The is one of Sarasotas oldest attractions, first opening in the 1930s. Originally conceived as a botanical garden it has since come to be home to a variety of domestic and exotic creatures also.
As well as the many varieties of tropical plants and flowers you will also find species of parrots, primates, lizards and alligators as well as the star attraction, the native Florida flamingos. The Jungle Garden is a Sarasota institution.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Sarasota Florida
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is an architectural landmark and popular venue for comedy, dance, music, and theater performances. Built between 1968 and 1969 with funds donated by Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the hall was renovated in 2000. It has a seating capacity of 1,736 people and the 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer can seat up to 350 people.
This opens up to the Terrace and Bayfront lawn which adds 1,500 more seats. If you are looking for romantic date ideas, see a performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The hall has a separate Education Center and offers a wide variety of education outreach programs for toddlers up to senior citizens.
777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida, Phone: 941-953-3368
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Dine In Style At The Sarasota Farmers Market
For the best in local foods and ingredients dont miss the Sarasota Farmers Market. This spot is a great place to try new things. With a choice of freshly prepared dishes as well as the finest local seafood, breads, olive oils, jerky and dried goods.
It also offers a space for local artisans and merchants supplying everything from soaps and musical instruments to bicycle repairs. The Farmers Market is a great place to meet up with friends and even has weekly live music at either end of the market. The market is open every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm.
Tl Jentgens At The Beach Club Siesta Key In Sarasota And Freckled Fin On Anna Maria Island
If you’re seeking a fun, late-night live music experience unlike anything else you’ll find in the region, be sure to witness drummer, singer and showman TL Jentgens perform 8:30 p.m. Friday at Freckled Fin Irish Pub on Anna Maria Island or 8 p.m. Saturday at Sarasota’s legendary Beach Club on Siesta Key. A regular performer at the famed Jimmy B’s on St. Pete Beach , Jentgens is a one-man band specializing in high-energy rock, pop, funk, hip-hop and even country with the hits ranging from the 1960s to today. Augmenting his expert drumming and emotive singing with studio backing tracks and vintage music videos, Jentgens hosts a pretty much guaranteed good time. For more information, visit tljentgens.com, freckledfin.com or beachclubsiestakey.com.
Bucket list:100 fun things to do in Sarasota County including restaurants, bars, beaches and more!
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The Nest At Robinson Preserve
The Nest at Robinson Preserve has a giant treehouse with long tunnels made of rope. Youll find a 2 story slide and a 5 story slide. The entire kids area is enclosed and there are only 2 entrances. Its one of the coolest outdoor play areas!
Open: Every day 7am-7pm
The indoor section is open on Saturdays. Explore the canopy boardwalk among banyans, climb to the top of the crows nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views & make an exciting exit via slide.Manatee Chamber
Open: Saturdays 9am-12pmCost: Free
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Monkey Around At Myakka Canopy Walkway And Observation Tower
The Myakka Canopy Walkway offers a unique opportunity to witness life up in the tree canopy. It reaches 74-feet at its highest point and offers a panoramic view of the wetland, prairie, and palm and oak hammocks below.
The structure first opened in 2000 and was the first public treetop trail in North America. Access is included with the Myakka park entry fees.
Indulge Yourself At The Mall At University Town Center
Opened only recently in 2014, The Mall has luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillards and Macys among a host of other popular brands. You can find a variety of stores selling home and furniture items, electronics, sportswear and health and beauty items.
There are also well-known food and beverage outlets and even a store selling arcade games, pinball machines, and memorabilia. Shop till you drop.
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See The Curiosities At The Ringling Circus Museum
You shouldnt miss the Ringling Circus Museum it is by far one of the most fun things to do in Sarasota, FL. The museum celebrates the rich traditions, quirks and history of the great American circuses.
Founded by the head of one of the nations greatest circus empires, John Ringling, this place has it all. Clown cars, cannons, ornate parade wagons, posters, a huge 44,000 piece model circus and a life-size replica of a tiger. Roll up, roll up!
Burn Off Some Energy At Bayfront Park
The well-positioned Bayfront Park is a great place to spend the afternoon. The Park has a couple of restaurants, including a tiki bar and grill, and also offers an outstanding view of the bay.
It has waterfront benches to sit and watch the sunset on warm summer nights. With playground facilities for children and an array of fountains, sculptures, and native plants theres enough to keep everyone entertained.
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Little Manatee River State Park Near The Manatee River
Little Manatee River State Park opened in the 1960s. If the thought of seeing gators, snakes, and predatory birds send a chill of excitement, this is the place for you! Its a combination of pine forest, wetlands, and simply amazing flora and fauna. This is one of the most interesting things to do around Sarasota, Bradenton, FL. Whatever you do, do not forget your camera when you come to visit!
Brew Pubs & Distilleries In Bradenton
*See a List of Discounts for Food & Drink Here*
The Bradenton area has been overflowing with new brewpubs. Not every place has food options, however, many have food truck night and other offerings.
Darwin Brewing Company, 803 17th Ave West, Bradenton. These Brewmasters studied in Germany and are world-renowned for their beers. On the first Mondays of every month, Darwin offers a 3-course dinner paired with their beers. New stuff is brewingfrom festivals to Tapas and Taps. Locally owned.
Motorworks Brewing, 1014 9th Street West, Bradenton. Motorworks has the largest Florida outdoor beer garden, complete with a large shaded deck and 22 ft projection screen. The taproom has over 30 craft brews on tap, as well as a full-service bar. Motorworks doesnt have a restaurant but they do partner with food trucks and local restaurants. Although they do not cook there, it still has the restaurant experience because servers take orders and deliver the food to your table. Motorworks has live music and other events including tours of the brewery.
Good Liquid Brewing, 4824 14th St West, Bradenton. This is just a few short miles away from Anna Maria Island. I was here recently and have to tell you that not only is the beer great, but come hungry! They have a good menu and my personal favorite is the fried cauliflower.
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Siesta Key Drum Circle
The Drum Circle on Siesta Key beach is lively and magical. Its a free event thats been going on since 1996. People drum along, dance, hula hoop and have a great time. Its fun and impossible to miss.
Where: Siesta Key Beach. Left of the concession stand.When: Every Sunday evening. About 1 hour before sunset.
While Nothing Beats A Day At The Beach Go Beyond The Miles Of Award
Spend a day strolling through art galleries and museums, hunting for shark teeth, picking up local goods at the farmer’s market or perfecting your golf game.
Need help deciding? Visit our Visitor Centers if youre already in the area, and discover the Sarasota Beach Pass or check our events calendar to see whats happening.
Our FAQs are a great place to find answers to top questions like, Does Sarasota offer any walking tours? or What can we do on a rainy day? And, you can get trip ideas curated by a select team of adventurous locals.
Whatever you do during your visit to Sarasota County, we hope you make it memorable!
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Things To Do In Downtown Sarasota
See a Show. Sarasota is called Floridas Culture Coast for a reason. There is the Sarasota Opera, The Symphony, the ballet, several community theatres, clubs with live music or comedy, and the quirky named Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall where you can see traveling Broadway shows.
The best part about Sarasotas theatre scene is that many of these facilities, like the Florida Studio Theatre where we took in a show, are right downtown, within walking distance of great restaurants and hotels .
Sarasota Farmers Market. Held year-round on Saturdays, youll find lots of local vendors here, kids activities and a bizarrely cool Antiques Roadshow performance with a local antique dealer. So grab yourself some fresh produce, and get grandmas clock appraised all at the same time.
UpTown Art Gallery. Take a break from shopping in Downtown Sarasota with a visit to one of the art galleries, especially the Uptown Fine Art Gallery on Main Street. Check out their events.
Sarasota Art Museum. Sarasota Art Museum has 15,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition gallery space spread across three floors along with the popular Bistro and Shop for visitors to spread out and enjoy all the Museum has to offer. Take in our outdoor sculpture and site-responsive installations in the Museums Marcy & Michael Klein Plaza and the Great Lawn. Free Second Sundays at SAM are the Second Sunday of every month.
Why You Should Go
If you live nearby and in search of one of the best places to enjoy a shopping spree, then The Mall at University Town Center is the perfect solution.
Have a fantastic time indoors by exploring its many stores, such as Macys and Dillards, and trying many tasty dishes at its numerous restaurants.
The Mall at University Town Center also occasionally sponsors fun events to make your visit more entertaining and memorable.
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Sunset Bike Ride Siesta Key
The tour company uses electric bikes, so if you can ride a bike you definitely can do this! The electric bikes are easy to handle and allow you to control how much effort you put into riding the bike.
Siesta Key has a nice wide, sand-packed beach which is perfect for this experience.
My husband and I recently took the Siesta Key Electric Bike Sunset Tour. Although I live here I saw the beach from a different perspective.
The breeze and the beautiful water paired with a fabulous sunset were a perfect way to spend an evening. I truly felt like a kid again!
When its time to celebrate the sunset, the guides top it off with a toast of champagne.
Theres plenty of time for photos and they take breaks frequently.
If there is just one thing you have time for, you seriously should consider this.
Meet The Ancestors At Bishop Museum Of Science And Nature
The Bishop Museum is the largest museum of natural history on Floridas Gulf Coast. It has a rotating schedule of temporary exhibitions as well as a large permanent collection.
The museum covers the history of life in the region with prehistoric fossils from the very earliest land creatures to the native Paleo-Indian cultures.
The building also houses an all-digital planetarium and manatee rehabilitation center. This is a must for kids and adults who are enthusiastic about science.
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