Mote Marine Aquarium & Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary
For treasures of another kind, families can visit the Mote Marine Aquarium, south of Longboat Key.
The centerpiece of the aquarium is a 135,000-gallon outdoor shark tank.
After the shark tank, take the kids to the 30-foot "Touch Tank," where horseshoe crabs, rays and sea urchins
can be gently handled.
Also on display are octopuses, sea turtles and manatees, among many other creatures.
The aquarium offers two types of environmental boat tours - a nature cruise of Sarasota Bay with an onboard
naturalist sharing interesting tidbits, and a winter bird observation tour of the mangrove islands in area bays.
Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota
Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary
Located right next to Mote Marine Aquarium, you'll find many feathered friends at the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary is home to more than 40 avian species due to injuries that prohibit them from surviving in the wild.
Dale Shields is the remarkable man behind the scenes who has dedicated his life to "tending the hurt and feeding the hungry" bird populations.
During a visit you'll see egrets, terns, crows, ducks, geese, herons, gulls, ibises and other waterfowl.
The Sanctuary is also home to birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, owls, ospreys and kestrals.
Address: 1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota