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What Will You Experience at the Lido Key Aquarium?

What Will You Experience at the Lido Key Aquarium?

Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are home to a bounty of marine life. You can explore these many fascinating invertebrates and mammals at the Lido Key aquarium on City Island. In addition to an aquarium, this facility contains an animal hospital and a biological research center. Learn about sea turtles, sharks, rays, gators, crocodiles and more as you discover the important role that each creature plays in the diverse Sunshine State ecosystems.

For more things to do and places to see around Sarasota, request our free Destination Guide. It’s full of activities, attractions, and restaurants making it easy to plan your Gulf Coast beach trip!

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Why Visit the Lido Key Aquarium?


If you want to explore the aquatic life that’s native to Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Lido Key Aquarium, officially known as the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, is a fantastic place to explore. Eight unique exhibits are home to over 100 different species of fish, sharks, crocodiles, gators, otters, sea turtles, and other marine creatures. The 135,000-gallon shark tank is the highlight of the Lido Key aquarium. Here, you can learn more about how sharks, skates, and rays live and function in the coastal waters of the Sunshine State. 

You’ll also find a fascinating exhibit featuring gators, crocodiles, and caimans. Each of these incredible species calls South Florida home, although caimans are a non-native invasive species. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium teaches you how to identify the differences in a variety of species and the importance of reporting them if found in the wild. Explore the diverse habitats of Florida’s bays, inlets, and coastal waters in two fun and colorful exhibits full of beautiful tropical fish like angelfish, butterflyfish, and pufferfish. 

The Lido Key aquarium also hosts sea turtles, Florida river fish, otters, and manatees. 

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium even has an animal hospital that houses dolphins, whales and sea turtles that require rehabilitation. These marine creatures may spend anywhere between a couple of days to several months, depending on the severity of their injury. You can read about all of the patient stories on their website.

Similar to the Mote Marine animal hospital, you will find Save Our Seabirds just next door. This unique Wild Bird Learning Center offers fascinating educational displays featuring injured and treated live birds that are unable to return to the wild. They house over 120 birds in a three-acre facility which is essentially an outdoor “Living Museum.”

Daily Programs and Educational Experiences

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium offers a wide variety of daily programs and experiences for all ages. Narrated shark and manatee feedings, morning rounds with Mote biologists, and an up-close and personal shark encounter are just a few of the interesting ways to experience the aquarium. They also feature trips and excursions outside of the building, like kayaking adventures, research charters, eco-boat tours, and walk and talks through the mangrove bays around Sarasota.

Check the Lido Key aquarium calendar for a complete list of every upcoming event at the facility.

Book Your Florida Gulf Coast GetawayLongboat Key beach

Florida Vacation Connection offers the best selection of homes and condos in the Sarasota area. Our rentals sit on the beautiful islands of Lido Key and Longboat Key. Each area provides a unique experience: Lido has plenty of restaurants and shopping minutes from the beach and Longboat offers a quiet and relaxing getaway on the long stretches of prime oceanfront bliss. Of course, the beaches aren’t the only thing to do here. Downtown Sarasota and the surrounding area feature a renowned performing and visual arts scene, an extensive list of top-notch restaurants, and a wide variety of exciting outdoor activities on the water. 

Start planning your Sunshine State getaway today by booking one of our Florida Vacation Connection rentals. We look forward to welcoming you to Sarasota!