A wooden footbridge leading to the beach

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Take a Deep Dive into Sarasota Marine Life

Spend just a little time in the Longboat Key area, and you’ll inevitably find yourself at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, one of the city’s most beloved attractions. Poised on the shore of City Island and just five minutes from popular St. Armand’s Key, Mote is a marine research institution led by top-of-their-field scientists. The aquarium is a fascinating place for kids and adults alike, boasting a 135,000-gallon shark habitat and more than 100 species of marine life in its environs. Exhibits include a touch tank, a reef habitat and resident manatees, who visitors can learn about daily during a narrated training session. The aquarium also offers everything from seahorse conservation lab tours to full moon paddle trips guided by Mote’s educators on Sarasota Bay.


Marine life in and around Longboat Key may begin with our favorite aquarium, but it doesn’t end there. Dolphins and manatees are constant companions to beach goers and boaters, and from May to November, green sea and loggerhead turtles nest on the beach, hatching in early summer. The beaches draw the birds, too, as the Sarasota Audubon Society can confirm. Here, visitors can swim with the sea animals, or kayak through habitats unreachable by other means to observe them. Our waters are rich with marine life, and whether you’re experiencing them by boat, from the sand, or in the sea itself, you’ll definitely encounter some happy critters.