One of the many highlights in Sarasota is the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and we’ve enjoyed bringing family and friends who visit from out of town to Mote. This place is special to us because our kids have attended many of their excellent homeschool science classes over the years, exploring the engaging exhibits, dip-netting in the estuary of Sarasota Bay, and learning to appreciate all aspects of the underwater world.
Mote has embarked on a massive new multi multi million dollar project: Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA), an iconic, 110,000-square-foot hub of marine science education and outreach. Mote SEA will encompass four stories and one million gallons of animal habitats on a 12 acre site. I can’t wait to see their new location at Nathan Benderson Park when it opens – but that isn’t expected until sometime in 2023.
In the meantime, I just thought I’d share some of our favorite photos with you and encourage you to visit if you get the chance. I wish I had been able to take better photos but I have to remind myself that I usually had only my cell phone and several young children to corral from place to place, help with an activity or find answers to questions. We have some great memories here: my son especially LOVED the stingray touch tank and could (and did) spend extended periods of time there. My girl loved the otters – who doesn’t? – and then there was the time we were watching the shark feeding and hung around a little while longer when a shark ‘accidentally’ ate a tank mate. Oops! I happened to have captured that shark with his extra meal on a very poor quality photo but one of the Mote researchers asked me to send it to him for their records. Oh, and then there was the trip when my youngest, who I was carrying on my back in an ergo carrier, vomited all down my back, out of nowhere. Ahhh, good times. Ha! So, really it’s a miracle I got any photos at all!
Got kids? There are several great and inspiring books about Dr. Eugenie Clark, aka The Shark Lady, and her remarkable career. She founded Mote Marine Laboratory as a shark research institute in 1955.
You can easily make a whole day of a trip to Mote Marine, with lunch either at their Deep Sea Diner or across the street at The Old Salty Dog, then spend an extra hour or two across the parking lot at Save Our Seabirds, a wonderful organization that also serves as a bird hospital and rehabilitation center.