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Sarasota: Top 7 Best Places To Visit in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida – Home of the Ringling Brothers Circus

South of Tampa, Sarasota is a beautiful city on the Florida Gulf Coast. Once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Sarasota is a cultural center that features both modern and old masters. The Ringling Museum of Art showcases modern and old masters of art. The city is also a gateway to miles of fine sand beaches, such as Siesta Key Beach. Its beaches have a lot to offer both nature lovers and urbanites.

The area was settled by humans as far back as 15000 years ago. In those days, humans had migrated from the northern regions of the New York Plain to Florida. The coastline of the Gulf of Mexico was 100 miles to the west. Hunting was the primary source of food and water. Because of its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, humans needed water sources to survive. While this is still true today, the area’s climate has changed dramatically. During the last century, sea levels rose by almost 350 feet, or 110 meters. Humans had to move further west.

The early days of Sarasota’s development were shaped by several influential figures. The socialite Bertha Palmer founded a citrus and cattle ranch in the area in 1910 and popularized the area. Then, John Ringling chose Sarasota as his winter headquarters for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Later, the circus relocated to Venice. The city was also the site of the first major real estate crash.

The Ringling Museum #1

People, please come one and all! You will see the world’s greatest circus museum, as well as a great Asian art museum and art museum. John Ringling was one five-brother team that created “The Greatest Show On Earth”, as they called their circus.

John and Mable, a couple from the early 1900s decided to build an Italian palace in Sarasota on twenty acres. It was named Ca d’Zan and today it is one of Florida’s most important cultural treasures.

image credit : flickr

The Circus Museum is a must-see. It houses the largest collection of circus memorabilia, art and other memorabilia. The museum spans two buildings and is full of colorful displays as well as a large model of the circus during its glory days. It’s a fantasy that everyone can enjoy, no matter their age. It’s especially fascinating to see the backgrounds and photos of freak show performers.

After touring the Circus Museum, it’s strange to walk into the Museum of Art. You may not like the art displayed and you might find yourself moving quickly through the galleries unless you are a fan of the work by artists from the 16th Century. A few highlights include Meeting with Abraham and Melchizedek in gallery 2, Rest at the Flight into Egypt in gallery 6, and the cast of Michelangelo’s David in the middle courtyard.

The former home to the Ringlings should be seen as well. The 36,000-square-foot home was designed to look like a Venice canal-side home. It is covered in glazed tiles that reflect the heat of the Florida sun. Walk around the front of this home to see the expansive waterfront patio. Here you can enjoy the best views and photos. You can purchase self-guided tours of first floor at an additional cost by entering the front gate.

You should spend as much time as possible exploring the gardens and grounds. They are just as beautiful as the art within. Mabel Ringling’s passion for nature is evident in the towering banyan trees and large Rose Garden.

More Details About The Ringling Museum

Address:5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States
Contact: +1 941-359-5700
Founder:John Ringling
Parent organization:Florida State University

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens #2

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which overlook Sarasota Bay is a lovely spot for a peaceful stroll, even if your not a keen gardener, is a great place to relax. The grounds are 15 acres in size and offer plenty of sitting areas for you to relax and take in the views. A wooden boardwalk that runs through mangrove forests offers beautiful views of the bay.

One of the most impressive displays and collections of orchids and bromeliads are among the botanical highlights. Bamboo, ferns and cycads are just a few of the other impressive specimens.

image credit : flickr

The koi pond, butterfly garden, and elevated children’s rainforest gardens are a favorite spot for kids. Hanging bridges, a waterfall and an Amazon village are just a few of the attractions in this popular area. There is also an adventure trail that offers treetop views of tropical plants. You can also shop at the gift shop on-site for souvenirs after admiring the beautiful botanical displays.

You can still be amazed by the beauty of more botanical specimens at Osprey’s Historic Spanish Point Campus.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has big plans. Three-phase, 92 million-dollar plan at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is in its infancy. It will include a new research centre, archives facilities, a restaurant and restoration of the original mansion. There will also be a new parking garage, greenhouse, and pedestrian promenade.

More Details About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Address:1534 Mound St, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States
Contact: +1 941-366-5731
Area:6,070 m²

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium #3

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s primary focus is not on caring for injured marine life or nursing them back to health, but on applying what scientists have learned to human needs. This facility is truly a research center, with a team of top scientists who are constantly pushing the boundaries.

image credit : flickr

This research includes citizens of the ocean such as manatees and dolphins, sea turtles and sharks, as well coral reefs and other ecosystems. Some of the research may have potential implications for curing diseases.

The exhibits include rays that you can touch, as well as sharks swimming and delicate seahorses.

More Details About Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Address:1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States
Contact: +1 941-388-4441
Notable animals:Abraham (Green sea turtle),
Founder:Eugenie Clark

Sarasota Classic Car Museum #4

You won’t find your dream car anywhere else if you don’t find it here. Sarasota Classic Car Museum, the nation’s second-oldest such attraction, will draw you into a sweet, nostalgic, technicolored land of gentler times, as you pass one dream machine after the other.

image credit : flickr

These icons are from the early, glorious days of the automobile. It was a time when the headlights were prominent in the front, and the jump-seats in the back. There are also “futuristic” fantasies from the past that were never realized by manufacturers.

Other exhibits include muscle cars from the 50s and 70s and collections that span the entire range from John and Mabel Ringling’s large Rolls-Royces to Paul McCartney’s beloved Mini Cooper.

There are also special revolving exhibits, as well as a gift shop that will bring back wonderful memories from your youth.

More Details About Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Address:5500 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States
Contact: +1 941-355-6228
Opened:February 1953

Ca d’Zan Mansion, Sarasota #5

Ca d’Zan Mansion used to be the winter home for John Ringling, an American circus owner, and Mable, his wife. The waterfront mansion, which is 5 stories tall and 36,000 square feet in size, was built between 1924-1926. The waterfront location reminded the Ringlings of Venice, which they loved.

image credit : flickr

This house’s style is Mediterranean Revival. It reflects the influence of Venice’s Doge Palace. Venetian for House of John, the name of the mansion means “House of John”. The mansion was also used as a residence and housed their extensive collection of art and artifacts. Guided tours of the mansion can be arranged by Docents.

More Details About Ca d’Zan Mansion, Sarasota

Address:5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States
Contact: +1 941-359-5700
Architects:Dwight James Baum, Ralph Twitchell
Architectural style:Mediterranean Revival architecture

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary #6

The Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary is located at Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota. It provides a safe haven to big cats and other animals. Kay Rosaire founded the sanctuary in 1987. In 2005, it became a non-profit. The sanctuary focuses on the rescue and care of exotic cats, bears, and birds. It also educates the public about wildlife conservation.

image credit : flickr

Three large indoor/outdoor habitats are available, each with their own swimming pool and plants. To help people understand habitat conservation and preservation, training demonstrations are given with big cats.

More Details About Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Address:7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240, United States
Contact: +1 941-371-6377

Sarasota Jungle Gardens #7

Sarasota Jungle Gardens, a park and animal attraction is located on Bay Shore Road. It was established in 1939 and is the oldest continuously operating attraction in the state. It started out with 10 acres of land, which was planted with thousands upon thousands of trees and tropical flowers from around the globe. The first Exotic Bird Show, which featured macaws and cockatoos, was held in 1970.

image credit : flickr

Gradually, more animals and shows were added. The gardens now house a wide range of animals, including small mammals, parrots, primates, and reptiles like alligators and crocodiles as well as reptiles such lizards and snakes. The garden also has pink flamingos.

More Details About Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Address:3701 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234, United States
Contact: +1 941-355-5305
Opened:31 December 1939
Area:40 km²

FAQs: Top 7 Best Places To Visit in Sarasota

What is Sarasota known for?

Aside from its beach, Sarasota is also known as Florida’s Cultural Coast. This coastal city is home to many museums, galleries, and theaters. In fact, it’s said that the city’s artistic appetite was created by John and Mable Ringling, who founded the iconic circus. In Sarasota, you can explore 21 different art galleries displaying a variety of styles, including Asian art, ancient art, and contemporary art. It also houses the world’s largest collection of Bromeliads.

Why is Sarasota So Popular?

The price of a home in Sarasota can be outrageous. It may start out as nothing, but now a home is worth two to four million dollars. This is far above the national average of 10 percent, and has led to a number of home price increases. In fact, even the Naples area had a higher appreciation rate last year than Sarasota. That’s still a good rate, especially in waterfront real estate, but Sarasota’s high-end properties have pushed its values even higher.

Is Sarasota Conservative Or Liberal?

Is Sarasota conservative or more liberal? That’s the question on every Sarasota voter’s mind. In August, Democrats made big gains, likely contributing to Eric Robinson’s ouster from the Sarasota County School Board. However, Democrats emerged only from the District 2 primary for City Commission. Clearly, the city is more conservative than it is liberal.

Where Should I Not Live in Sarasota?

If you’re thinking of moving to the Florida coast, you’re probably wondering: “Where should I live in Sarasota?” There are a number of options available, from waterfront estates to simple ramblers. This coastal city is located at the southern end of the Tampa Bay area, surrounded by water and barrier islands. Sarasota has about 55,000 full-time residents.

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