The Ringling Museum was created by John Ringling who was also instrumental in developing the Sarasota area in early 1900's. He and his brothers owned the Ringling Brothers Circus and later purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus. They toured all over the United States with their very large 3 ring circuses. John was interested in European Art and purchased many types of art on his numerous trips to Europe. Many items were not considered art at the time they he obtained them. This would include items such as cartoons that were painted large and in reverse so that tapestries could be woven in the likeness of a small painting by artists of that time. All of his purchases existed in closed warehouses until he could develop his museum. He and his wife Mable built a residence on the bay in Sarasota called Ca d'Zan and it was completely restored and now open to the public. This incredible 32-room residence has some of the feelings of the circus added to the architecture and furnishings. The Ringling Museum is built on those same grounds along with a casual restaurant and a unique circus museum, which details the history of the circus in the states that actually has its roots in Europe. This location is about 15 minutes from the condo and you will enjoy touring the buildings and the grounds. Their residence does not compare in size to the castles of England and Europe, but is truly unique and on a beautiful piece of land. The entire property was gifted to Florida when John died and is maintained by Florida State University.
Jungle Gardens is a great for kids, parents and grandma and grandpa. Many tropical birds, flowers and just fun things. Very popular with everyone who visits.
The Van Wezel is a unique music performance hall that is about 10 minutes from your condo. You may find an event of interest online that will be showing while you are here.
Gwiz is a wonderful children science and technology center that is next door the Van Wezel.
Sarasota Children's Garden
1670 10th Way
10:00 AM to %:00 PM Tuesday thru Sunday
Whimsical garden with sculptures, mazes, pirate ship, hidden treasures, dress-up room, acting stage, etc.
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236.
Mote Marine is a marine laboratory where research is done. This is on an island off of downtown Sarasota and about 20 minutes from your condo. For some strange reason this is where Al Gore, the presidential candidate who lost to George W. Bush, practiced for the presidential debates. He probably could have better spent his time attempting to show Florida voters how to fill out a ballot and deal with "hanging chads".
811 South Palm Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
Selby Gardens is a link to a beautiful garden location on Sarasota Bay that is about 10 minutes from the condo. Selby is not only a botanical garden, but also set in a beautiful setting on Sarasota Bay. The orchids at Selby are incredible as are the numerous bromeliads both inside and outside of the buildings. You can purchase plants while at Selby and relax in the garden to enjoy the beautiful surrounds. Plan at least two hours when visiting the Gardens, which are very close to your condo on Siesta Key.
Weddings can also be arranged at Selby Gardens. For brides and grooms, the most difficult decision is not whether to have their wedding at Selby Gardens, but rather where in the Gardens to have the wedding. Selby Gardens has many options for your wedding and can provide a ceremony and reception for you to remember for the rest of your lives. That is what a wedding ceremony is supposed to do for the bride and groom. What a great start to a wonderful marriage. You will find other great Siesta Key and Sarasota wedding locations by visiting this link.
Myakka Park is a state park that is about 20 minutes from your condo and will take you into an area filled with Florida wildlife including lots of alligators enjoying their natural habitat. You can also take boat rides through this area and see the wildlife up close. This is Florida's nature at it's best. Tourists usually miss out on finding locations like this because they are not advertised, as they are not commercial.
Babcock Wilderness is a State of Florida run commercial enterprise that will take you on a tour through Florida fauna & flora to see what Florida looked like before development. Truly for those who like hiking and exploring in the great outdoors. Hiking trails will take you along anywhere from 2 to 4.7 miles of Florida back country, depending on the trail you choose. You will encounter natural wildlife as they go about their daily lives. Nothing is staged or caged. You can go here many times in a year and see a completely different scene in the same areas depending on rain fall and time of year. This Eco-Tour on the "swamp buggy" (old painted school buses) is worth the $20 per adult, $13 per child for the 90 minute tour. You can arrange to eat lunch between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM at the Gator Shack. This is about a 90 minute drive from the condo and you will want to make reservations before departing for the ranch to take the swamp buggy tours. You are going to see some birds, critters and lots of alligators. This is an educational guided tour through a Florida Cypress swamp that is also a working cattle ranch amongst other things. Take your camera for some great shots.
Big Cat Habitat is a non-profit safe haven for big cats, bears and other animals in need. Founded by Kay Rosaire who enjoys over 30 years of experience working with and caring for exotic animals. This large animal sanctuary is a short drive from your condo and they hold demonstrations every Saturday and Sunday. It is fitting that Kay has established her Sanctuary in this area with it's close ties to the circus.
Florida Railroad Museum
12210 83rd Street East
Parrish, Florida 34219
This operating railroad allows you to visit and experience train travel of the 1950's in the 21st century. Located in close by Parrish, Florida you too can get "all Aboard" on the regular train schedule of 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM every Saturday & Sundays for there 90 minute round trip ride, rain or shine. The museum has regular special events for various holiday seasons and is a great family outing when weather is not great or you just need a break from the beach. The museum is about 45 minutes from your condo on Siesta Key. The railroad museum also arranges private charters, birthday parties, reunions and allows you to charter a coach, lounge car, caboose or the entire train. They will also arrange to let you run a locomotive.
South Florida Museum
201 10th Street West
Bradenton Florida 34205
The South Florida Museum has just completed a five million dollar transformation and beside their extensive collections of anthropological artifacts, paleontological specimens and objects of cultural interest you will also find the Parker Manatee Aquarium with their 60 year old resident manatee Snooty who celebrates his birthday with many visitors and staff each year. This is also the location of the Bishop Planetarium with its views into the heavens. The Bishop Planetarium is a multipurpose, "state of the art" domed theater, boasting one of the most advanced all-digital projection systems in the world. Incorporating unidirectional stadium style seating, high definition DVD, TV, and PowerPoint projection, and a digital 25,000 watt Dolby 5.1 surround sound system, the Bishop is capable of accommodating a wide range of programs. The museum is a short 30 minutes from your condo on Siesta Key and is another great entertainment venue for the entire family. Check their website for regulary scheduled special events. This facility is a short walk from the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton.
4533 Solomon Rd.
Ona, FL 33865
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday Closed July, August & September
This unusual and eclectic Florida attraction is not dissimilar from our website--a work in progress! A recent rental guest visited Solomon's Castle and found it pleasant and interesting with good food in the new "Boat in the Moat" Restaurant. Ironically I had heard of this location from a construction worker at our building a few years ago. I was left with the impression that this studio and home was located somewhere in the Everglades which is obviously not accurate. Much of the construction uses printer plates. Nann and I will make it a point to drive out here and gather more information on Solomons Castle, which is not far from your condo on Siesta Key.