15 Activities Your Kids Will Love in Sarasota, Florida

sarasota kids activities

Sarasota, Florida, is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and thriving nightlife. But did you know that Sarasota also has some great family-friendly activities that are perfect for kids of all ages?

Home to world-class museums, parks, and playgrounds, Sarasota is a great place for families to spend time together. So whether you’re visiting Sarasota with young children or are a local looking for ways to keep your family entertained, the city has plenty of options to choose from. 

Here are our top picks for kid-friendly activities in Sarasota:

1. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

marie selby botanical gardens
Image source: selby.org

One of Sarasota’s most popular family-friendly attractions is the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This 15-acre garden features a stunning array of exotic plants and flowers—along with a stunning landscape design. 

There are several walking trails that wind through the gardens and along Sarasota Bay, so your kids will have plenty to explore. There is also a section where you can observe butterflies up close as they flit from flower to flower. This is an especially fun experience for young children.

The garden is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, so be sure to stop by during your visit to the area. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens also have multiple educational activities and events. So, check out their website to see what’s on tap during your visit.

2. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

mote marine laboratory aquarium
Image source: mote.org

If you’re looking for a fun and educational outing that your kids will love, look no further than the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Here, you can explore exhibits full of sharks and rays, as well as other fascinating sea creatures like octopuses, moray eels, and more.

Located just a few minutes south of Sarasota, this marine science research center has a lot to offer. There is an impressive collection of exhibits with over 100 species of fish and other sea creatures.

The aquarium itself is impressive, with a huge variety of tanks ranging from small touch pools to massive walk-through exhibits. The aquarium also has a number of fun educational events throughout the year. So be sure to check their website for information on activities like shark feeding, stingray talks, and much more. 

3. Suncoast Science Center

suncoast science center
Image source: suncoastscience.org

If you’re looking to keep your kids busy and engaged during your trip to Sarasota, the Suncoast Science Center is the perfect place to visit. This hands-on science center is home to a variety of fascinating exhibits and educational programs that will inspire your little ones.

The center also hosts a number of special events throughout the year that are perfect for kids, including science programs, day camps, and more. We recommend checking their website or calling before your visit, as they may be hosting a special event that your kids will love.

4. TreeUmph! Adventure Course

tree umph adventure course
Image source: treeumph.com

Are you looking to challenge your kids while also having fun? Then look no further than the TreeUmph! Adventure Course. Just a quick 26-minute drive from Sarasota, this outdoor adventure course provides a unique and challenging experience for everyone age 5+.

Your kids will love the ropes courses with various elements, including bridges and climbing nets. There are also aerial adventure courses that include high ropes, swinging logs, and zip lines.

The TreeUmph! Adventure Course is open year-round (excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s). So be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid long wait times. You can also choose from a variety of packages including individual tickets, group ticketing options, and evening tickets on the weekends.

5. The Ringling Museum of Art

art making at the ringling museum
Image source: ringling.org

The Ringling Museum of Art is a world-renown art museum that features works from some of history’s most iconic artists. The museum is one of the largest in the country and has been in operation since 1927.

Inside, you and your kids will find a variety of famous paintings, sculptures, and other artistic works from throughout the globe. There is also a beautiful 66-acre garden on the grounds that is to charm and delight. There are also family workshops and art events for kids of all ages and their parents or caregivers.

The Ringling Museum of Art is open every day. While reservations are not required for entry, we highly recommend booking your visit in advance, as the museum can be quite busy during peak seasons.

6. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

big cats habitat
Image source: Big Cat Habitat Facebook Page

If your children have an interest in animals, Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is the perfect place to visit. Located just 8 miles east of Sarasota, this sanctuary is home to over 150 domestic and exotic animals that have been rescued. There are cougars, tigers, foxes, lions, black bears, and much more.

The sanctuary even offers personal, interactive experiences with some of its animals. This is a great opportunity to get close to some of the world’s most majestic creatures. Just be sure to book your animal encounter in advance, as they are only available by reservation.

The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary also has a petting zoo for the younger kids and various educational programs for all ages. So, whether you’re looking to learn more about animals or just enjoy a fun day out with your kids, this sanctuary is a must-see.

7. Urfer Family Park

urfer family park
Image source: scgov.net

If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax during your visit to Sarasota, head to Urfer Family Park. This beautiful park offers plenty of space for hiking, biking, and picnicking.

There are also some great playgrounds in the park that are perfect for keeping your kids entertained. You can also bring your own fishing equipment, as there is a nearby pond that is great for a little catch and release.

Urfer Family Park is open daily and offers free admission. However, you may need to pay for parking during busy seasons.

8. Bob’s Train

Bob’s Train is an iconic Sarasota restaurant located inside four authentic train cars. Here, you and your kids can enjoy classic American fares like burgers and hot dogs in a memorable setting.

The train cars are also a nice, breezy escape from the summer heat. The ambiance is perfect for an afternoon out with your children.

Bob’s Train is open for lunch every Monday through Friday and for brunch each Sunday. We recommend making a reservation ahead of time, as seating can fill up quickly.

9. Sarasota Jungle Gardens

sarasota jungle gardens
Image source: sarasotajunglegardens.com

If your kids love animals and nature, then they will adore a visit to Sarasota Jungle Gardens. This beautiful garden is home to hundreds of exotic birds, reptiles, and other animals that are sure to delight your little ones.

There are also plenty of interactive exhibits and educational programs throughout the gardens. This will give your kids a real appreciation for the natural world.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is open daily and offers free admission for kids under the age of 3 and $14.99 tickets for children ages 4-12. We highly recommend booking your visit in advance, as this is a very popular attraction.

10. Saint Armands Circle

st armands circle
Image source: starmandscircleassoc.com

If you and your kids are looking for a little retail therapy during your visit to Sarasota, head to Saint Armand’s Circle. This beautiful circular promenade is home to a variety of high-end boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.

You can browse through the shops or stop for a delicious bite to eat while taking in the surrounding view. There is also a beautiful park in the center of the circle where your kids can run around and burn some energy.

Saint Armands Circle is conveniently located just a short drive from downtown Sarasota.

11. Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy

marietto museum of art and whimsy
Image source: whimsymuseum.org

Another great place for kids to explore is the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy. This unique museum features a huge collection of fun, one-of-a-kind artwork and sculptures created by local artists.

It’s the perfect place to inspire your kids’ creativity and imagination. The museum is also just a short drive from some of Sarasota’s other top-rated family attractions. So, it makes for a great day trip during your visit.

It is important to note that this museum may appeal more to older kids and teens as there aren’t any interactive exhibits.

12. Siesta Key Beach 

siesta key beach

Of course, no trip to Sarasota is complete without a visit to one of its beautiful beaches. Siesta Key Beach is just a short drive from the city center and is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in the nation.

The powder-soft sand and calm, turquoise waters are more than enough to keep your kids entertained for hours. There are also plenty of lifeguards on duty to ensure everyone’s safety during their visit.

If you’re looking for a little more adventure, there are also plenty of options nearby. You and your kids can rent kayaks or paddleboards, go parasailing, or even rent a bike to explore the area. It’s perfect for a family day in the sun.

13. Discover Sarasota Tours

discover sarasota tours
Image source: discoversarasotatours.com

If you’re looking to get the most out of your trip to Sarasota, we highly recommend booking a Discover Sarasota Tour. This guided trolley tour will take you and your family around the city and show you all of its top attractions in one fun-filled day.

Each tour is led by a knowledgeable and experienced guide who can answer any questions you may have about the city. You and your family will also get the chance to hop off at different stops to explore some of the city’s most popular attractions.

14. Oscar Scherer State Park

oscar scherer

The Sarasota area is home to some of the most beautiful state parks in Florida, and Oscar Scherer State Park is no exception. This gorgeous park is located just a few miles away from the city and offers a variety of activities for the whole family.

You can hike through its 15 miles of peaceful trails. There are also picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal with your kids in the great outdoors. 

Oscar Scherer State Park is open daily and offers $6 admission to all vehicles. We highly recommend visiting during off-peak seasons as it can be quite crowded during the summer months. However, regardless of when you visit, this park is a must-see for any family visiting Sarasota.

15. Helicopter Tours

helicopter tours with kids

For a truly unforgettable experience, we recommend booking a helicopter tour. Whether you want to see the surrounding landscapes from above or check out some of the city’s most notable attractions – this will definitely be an experience your family won’t forget.

Not only are helicopter tours a great way to see the city, but they also provide a unique perspective that you just can’t get anywhere else. If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure, this is the activity for you. 

Some helicopter tour companies even offer evening flyovers, so you can take in the city’s stunning sunsets. It’s the perfect way to end a day of exploring with your family.

Looking to Book a Helicopter Tour?

If you’re interested in booking a helicopter tour during your trip to Sarasota, contact us at Sarasota Helicopter Tours. We offer a variety of packages that are perfect for families and individuals alike.

Our experienced pilot will even customize your tour to show you the sights that interest you most. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or simply want to see the beautiful city of Sarasota from above – we have a package that’s perfect for your family.

Contact us to book your tour today. We look forward to flying with you!

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