16 Best Things To Do In Sarasota With Kids

Best Family Activities In Sarasota Florida

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If you’re looking for a family friendly city in Florida then Sarasota is one of the best places to visit. From the city to the beaches, you won’t run out of things to do. These are the best things to do in Sarasota with kids.

Jungle Gardens

Visiting the Jungle Gardens is one of the best things to do with kids in Sarasota. One of the main attraction in this little jungle is feeding the flamingos. The kids would love to interact with the bright pink birds as they are very friendly.

The park also allows you to feed the alligators and have a photo session with their tropical birds. They have a show schedule showcasing their birds and reptiles, and a petting zoo with goats.

If it is a special occasion, they have the option to book a Birthday celebration for your kids right at the Jungle Gardens and they host field trips as well.

They are open from 10am to 4pm daily except for major holidays.

The Ringling Museum

The Ringling Museum is a big part of Sarasota’s history and it is one of the best things to see in Sarasota. Roam through the 66 acres of beautiful grounds and stop by the kids playground for the littles to have some fun.

The Ca’d’Zan mansion, Ringling Museum of Art, and the Circus Museums are sure to keep the whole family busy for the day. At the Circus Museum the thrill of learning what it is like to be in the circus is sure to captivate kids and adults alike.

Some of the performing props you get to see are carved parade wagons, glittering costumes and most of all the cannon that shot performers through the air.

The museum is open 10am to 5pm and costs a fee but is one of the free thing to do in Sarasota on Mondays which gives you free access to the grounds and the art museum.

Mote Marine Laboratory

Get up close with manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters and fish at the Mote Marine Laboratory. One of the fun things to do is go on an animals encounter which is a special program that allows you to go behind the scenes and see what goes on every morning before the place opens up to the public, learn about how they care for the animals, and get to ask all the questions.

The program concludes with an animal feeding or another fun activity. The cost is $40 per person and you have to register online before you go. However, aquarium admission is not included.

If you just want to visit the aquarium, then you will get to see all the various species of marine life and the exhibits such as the touch pools for stingrays and sharks as well as a giant 135,000-gallon shark habitat. General admission is $26 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-12.

Big Cat Habitat

The Big Cat Habitat is a sanctuary where they provide a permanent home for dozens of exotic animals including the tigers and lions.

It has three large housing complexes for the animals, each with a swimming pool, toys, and trees to give them the best home possible. Along with the big cats, they are home to bears, ring-tailed lemurs, birds, and a petting zoo full of goats.

You have the option to do an animal encounter with an animal that is not included in the general admission. They have encounters with a sloth, lemur, silver fox, or a wallaby that you will get to hold and pet.

Their hours are 12pm-4pm with an adult one day pass at $25 and a kids pass at $10 (age 3-12). For a private animal encounter you have to call ahead to book.

Siesta Key Aqua Adventures

There’s no better way to spend a day in Florida than have some fun on the water. With Siesta Key Aqua Adventures, your whole family will have the adventure of a lifetime.

There are many activities to choose from depending on what you want to do and see. These include dolphin cruises, private family charters on a tiki boat, banana boat rides, jet ski rentals, bumper boats, sightseeing tours to KoKo Island, sunset evening cruises, kayak rentals and tours, paddle board rentals and more!

Another feature is the arcade where you can join in on the treasure hunt sifting through for precious gems, stones, fossils, and shark teeth.

Beach Fun At Siesta Key

A simple day at the beach is always the perfect family day and it is even better at Siesta Key Beach where you have super soft, white sand and clear, turquoise water.

Make the day at the beach fun by bringing a lunch and your snorkeling gear to snorkel at one of the hidden gems in Sarasota, the Point of Rocks. It is a limestone formation right off of the beach where you can see the sea life that live around the rocks.

Building sand castles and having fun in the water is one of the best things to do as a family in Sarasota.

Myakka Elephant Ranch

Seeing animals is always fun and seeing these gentle giants can be a memory that lasts forever. The Myakka Elephant Ranch is a non-profit conservation center. They try to educate their guests on elephant conservation while hoping to provide a memorable experience.

Depending on the package you get, you will get to learn all about the elephants while giving them their favorite treats, seeing them eat their breakfast, and participating in giving them their daily bath.

Take as many photos as you can while interacting with the elephants to capture your memories.

St. Armand’s Circle

St. Armand’s Circle is brimming with unique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Take a walk around the circle and a peek inside the shops that are full of unique gifts and trinkets. There is something for everyone to find and take with you as a souvenir.

Dining at one of the restaurants in St. Armand’s Circle is a good way to get a taste of delicious food and then you can head over to Lido Key Beach where you can watch the sunset together with your family.

Marietta Museum Of Art and Whimsy

A quirky stop while in Sarasota, this fun art museum is full of color that the kids are sure to love. The art pieces and sculptures all have been chosen specially to exhibit a whimsical atmosphere.

The museum is only open on select days from 1-4pm during the months of November to May. So if you are visiting Sarasota during that time, it can be a fun stop close to downtown Sarasota.

Admission is donation based at $10 per person while kids under 12 are free to enter.

Rye Road Giraffes

This family owned farm, Rye Road Giraffes, has been operating since the 1980’s. While the giraffes are the main attraction, the farm is also the home of zebras, camels, tortoises, llamas and a kangaroo.

While those are their more exotic animals, they also have traditional farm animals like chickens, cows, and goats. Their animals love to be hand fed so you can interact with the domestic and exotic animals.

Of course, the main experience is getting to feed the tall giraffes which can be booked as a private or group tour. They have the possibility of providing animals rides too so be sure to call ahead for the animal riding experience.


If you are an adventurous family, TreeUmph adventure course is the place for adventuring through the trees. This course has over 10 football fields of challenges and aerial adventure games.

Make sure to gear up with closed-toe shoes and long hair tied back as you prepare for your climbing adventures. The staff provide training for safety and teach you how to move through the courses safely.

The courses start easier and then get more challenging as you move through. You can challenge yourself to complete all of the courses or you can stop whenever you decide.

This challenge will be fun for the whole family and the perfect way to spend the day.

Hunsader Farm

Hunsader farm provides a more farm experience where you can get fresh produce at the market or go picking with the whole family when the produce is in season. Strawberries can be picked from December to March and are delicious under the Florida sun.

Another fun feature is their sunflower field that you get to walk through and pick some sunflowers.

For the kids, the farm has a petting zoo with farm animals including mini ponies, a sandbox, pedal carts, and a game area. If you are visiting during the fall season, the pumpkin festival is complete with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayrides and more.

At Christmastime, the farm provides an incredible experience with over 300,000 lights, train rides, Santa, campfires, Christmas music and movies, and even snow tubing. Whatever the season, there is always something fun to do at the farm.

Myakka State Park

Myakka State Park is one of the best ways to enjoy nature around the Sarasota area. The fee to the park is $6 dollars per vehicle and you can enter the park from 8am until sunset.

As you’re driving through the park, make sure to stop at the first bridge and look over where you will get to see alligators in the water. Drive carefully through the park not to miss the other wildlife in the woods. There are deer, hogs, and various species of birds to see.

If the weather permits, getting out in the trails is a good way to spend more time in nature or you can walk on the boardwalk to see the marshes.

A fun feature of the park is the canopy walkway which provides a way to observe the landscape from the treetops. The walkway is 25 feet above ground and runs 100 feet through the canopy. The tower itself stands tall at 74 feet in the air for even greater views.

Biking The Legacy Trail

The Legacy Trail is the perfect opportunity to go biking in Sarasota. You can rent some bikes in the area and take off with the whole family.

The trail starts in Sarasota and runs all the way to Venice which provides a smooth, paved trail to ride bikes on and many stops along the way.

Livingston’s Amusement

For an epic time playing arcade games, billiards, bumper cars and go karts, head on over to Livingston’s Amusements. The space is over 50,000 square feet and is the ultimate place to have some fun.

There are plenty of games that kids will love and if anyone gets hungry, they have a full menu of pizzas, sandwiches, stromboli, salads, and dessert and quick bites like fries.

They consider themselves as the largest arcade in the area and switch out their games often while keeping the popular ones for everyone to enjoy.

Shark Tooth Hunting

A short trip down south and you will be at the Venice beaches, which has one of the best beaches to find shark teeth. Grab a Florida snow shovel, which is what they call the sifters down south and start digging through the sand.

There are plenty of shark teeth to be found and you can have a whole collection of them by the time you leave. Another thing you can add to your collection are the beautiful shells that you can find on these beaches as wel.