Sarasota is a sleepy sunset city on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Its vibrancy, beautiful beaches, and cultural heritage make it a perfect destination for a family vacation.
Whether you are looking for outdoor exploration, quality beach time, or other things your kids can do in Sarasota, this city has lots to offer.
Here’s my list of things to do in Sarasota with the kids. It’s time to plan your itinerary!
1. Sarasota Children’s Garden
The Sarasota Children’s Garden is a hidden gem in downtown Sarasota.
It’s the perfect place to beat the summer heat with plenty of shade throughout.
The two-acre garden will distract your kids from the electronics and allow them to experience nature and fun.
The garden is divided into sections like Snuffy The Dragon, Butterfly Garden, The Amazing Maze, and others.
The learning programs in the Garden are worth your kid’s time as they can learn about nature and art and participate in gardening classes. You are also allowed to host birthday parties here.
2. Suncoast Science Center
Since its founding in 2014, the Suncoast Science Center continues to inspire and support upcoming innovators, and it is a great place for kids.
The center has a science reading library and the Faulhaber Fab Lab. Your young scientist will love being here and learning through technology, art, and math.
There are also programs for kids in which they are encouraged to explore their ideas, build skills, boost their confidence, and become who they want to be.
3. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Give your kids a marine experience by visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. The organization aims to offer marine education on the city island, and it is an exciting place to visit.
One of the most thrilling activities in this lab is the animal encounter. This is a private program for small groups of six in which visitors are taught about animal care.
The program’s climax is feeding the animals, and your children will love the experience.
There is also Turtle Mote time, where kids can visit the marine center and learn about sea turtles and other marine creatures. Mote is a great place for your young animal lovers.
4. Sarasota Square Mall
The Sarasota Square Mall is an awesome place to visit with the kids on a rainy day.
There are several fun activities your little ones can take part in here. The mall has a colorful play area equipped with large puzzles, animal characters, and enough space to roll and stretch their little bodies.
You can also recharge or relax at the family lounge, which features a nursing area, kid-friendly TV programs, and toys. Plus, the lounge is near the food court.
5. Sarasota Jungle Gardens
Looking for an affordable place to spend time with your kids? Sarasota Jungle Gardens is not a bad idea at all.
This family-owned attraction is home to over 200 exotic and native animals and is one of Sarasota’s most visited places.
Some animals your little ones will see in these gardens include parrots, primates, snakes, flamingos, birds of prey, and many others.
The experience of feeding the flamingos right from their hands is a story your children will love to tell over and over again.
They can also enjoy entertaining animal shows throughout the zoo and jungle trails for strolling.
6. TreeUmph! Adventure Course
Surprise your children by taking them to the TreeUmph! Adventure Course and let them soar high and experience Florida from the top!
The course features many aerial games that will leave the young ones thrilled. They will love every moment as they fly from tree to tree in the dense forests while defying gravity.
You don’t have to worry about the kids’ safety because the staff are trained to handle kids seven years old and above.
7. Bob’s Train
Board Bob’s Train and enjoy a wonderful dining experience after spending your day at the beach or museum.
Besides the dining experience, this train is also a major part of Sarasota’s history. The kids will have a great time listening to Robert, the owner, telling them old stories of Sarasota.
8. Urfer Family Park
Urfer Family Park is a kid-and-pet-friendly park in Honore Gardens.
Offering nature trails aplenty, the park is an ideal place for bicycling, hiking, birding, and picnicking.
Remember to carry lots of water to refresh and beat the nonstop Florida heat. You can also bring some snacks or buy food at the park.
9. Oscar Scherer State Park
Sandwiched between Venice and Sarasota, Oscar Scherer State Park has everything your kids need for a day of fun.
You can enjoy a nature trail walk as a family while you listen to birds on the many oaks and pine trees.
The kids can participate in activities like swimming, paddle boarding, and rollerblading. The park is also great for picnicking.
10. Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Enjoy a fresh escape with your family at the Big Cat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary.
This animal rescue center at the heart of Sarasota is home to tigers, lions, and other wildlife.
Besides the animal encounters, there is also the Adventure in the Wild program that offers fantastic birthday packages for kids.
The young ones can also enjoy animal demonstration shows, pony rides, and face painting.
11. Visit The Beaches
Of course, one of the most obvious things to do with the kids in Sarasota is to visit the city’s beautiful beaches.
Here is my list of the best beaches to visit in Sarasota.
- Siesta Key: This beach regularly tops the list of the best beaches in Florida. Siesta Key boasts shopping, dining, and sunbathing. The must-visit paradise also boasts many amenities, all for your comfort and convenience.
- Turtle Beach: If you want a less crowded beach, Turtle Beach is a great escape for your family. It features amenities like a children’s playground, picnic pavilions, pedestrian walkways, and clean restrooms. You can enjoy boat touring, kayaking, castle-building, picnicking, and fishing on the beach.
- Manasota Beach: A nice beach for family summer vacations, Manasota Beach has free parking, picnic tables and chairs, and great restaurants with incredible dishes. Your kids will enjoy boat ramping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and swimming.
- Casey Beach: Casey Beach is a gorgeous beach to visit with family and hunt for shark teeth. It is also an excellent destination for the young bikers in your family thanks to its kid-friendly Legacy Bike Trail. End your day at this beach by enjoying the drum circle, an event where drummers, musicians, and dancers come together to entertain beach-goers.