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Sarasota Bay Explorers

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Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy. City Island, Sarasota, FL
Phone Number: +1 941-388-4200
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Looking for an exciting, hands-on, educational and FUN experience on...

Looking for an exciting, hands-on, educational and FUN experience on the water? We've got it!

We are located in beautiful Sarasota, Florida and work in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory to provide interactive marine science boat trips for both public and private use.

We offer several types of eco-tours including our renowned Sea Life Encounter Cruise, Guided Kayak Tours, Nature Safari and private charters aboard the Miss Explorer.

In addition to our regular cruises, you may charter a trip on one of our 40-foot pontoon boats for a private group. Private charters are available for anything from school field trips to company outings to birthday parties

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 54 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 34
  • 13
    Very good
  • 4
  • 2
  • 1
Great trip

First time there weren't enough people wanting to go on a tour (they need 7 for the seal life encounter cruise) so went back the next day. Sure glad we did. It was a great... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago
Tetbury, United Kingdom
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54 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Tetbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
196 reviews
111 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

First time there weren't enough people wanting to go on a tour (they need 7 for the seal life encounter cruise) so went back the next day. Sure glad we did. It was a great trip. The marine biologist was informative and fun and we saw a great deal - dolphins, pelicans, cormorants, snake bird, and when they dropped a... More 

Thank JohnSFleet_Hants_UK
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2015

The bay came alive with dolphins, birds, and fish sightings. This was a fun, educational tour on calm waters. I would go again!

Thank GiuliettainUK
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2015

We were visiting family in Sarasota and went to Mote Aquarium. We combined our ticket with a boat sightseeing trip. It was great. Nice, large pontoon boat that is covered takes you out and around Sarasota bay. The biologist talks about fish and other wildlife in the area. The captain did stop the boat when he saw a dolphin and... More 

1 Thank NCTraveler1999
New Bern
Level Contributor
31 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2015

I'll be honest - this was not my first choice for a dolphin/manatee sightseeing trip - but appeared to be the only one available during my stay in the Sarasota area - Althought nice and comfortable boat, and knowledgeable staff - although our tour guide didn't know the IntraCoastal Waterway is actually 3,000 miles and doesn't just cover area around... More 

Thank lavoie2010
Sarah W, General Manager at Sarasota Bay Explorers, responded to this review

Hello, thank you for your review of our Sea Life Encounter Cruise. Our sister company, Lebarge Tropical Cruises, does offer a specific dolphin and manatee watch cruise, but they are currently out of the water for their annual maintenance and Coast Guard inspections. On the Sea Life Encounter Cruise, the captain, biologist, and passengers do look for Dolphins and manatees... More 

Northern New Jersey
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2015

This tour was great! We sat in front and got soaked from the waves, but we dried off while stopping at the island. A storm was coming in as we were ending the trip, and our biologist continued to sift through the contents of the net and tell us about everything she caught. I love that we were protected from... More 

Thank NJ_Geology
Ackley, Iowa
Level Contributor
77 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2015

The Sea Life Encounter Cruise is great for all ages. You take a relaxing boat ride through Sarasota Bay and Roberts Bay. The boat is covered so you are protected from the hot sun and you get a nice breeze from the boat ride. We saw both manatees and dolphins swimming wild as we rode through the bay. You make... More 

Thank IggysTravellers
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2015

We did the sea life encounter tour in conjunction with a visit to the Mote Aquarium. Our guide was very knowledgeable and interesting. We saw a nice variety of sea life including Dolphins (even 2 baby dolphin!), nesting sea bird with young, and a lot of cool stuff from the net. Most of those things we were able to touch... More 

Thank myfamilystourguide
Warren, New Jersey
Level Contributor
58 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2015

The "Sea Life Encounter" Boat Tour leaves out of the Mote Marine Aquarium. It's a lovely open-air ride on a pontoon boat with bench seating and a canopy to protect from the sun. There's a marine biologist on board to tell you about the local sea life. They take you around Sarasota Bay, stop briefly on a small uninhabited island... More 

1 Thank Adrianne P
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
45 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2015

My family and I took the Nature Tour at 11. We saw the tour as we were going into the MOTE. So glad we took this tour. It's a great way to see the bay and the animals who live there. The tour lasts about two hours. We saw lots of animals (birds and dolphins!) as well as the part... More 

Thank Helga1087
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2015

We had a wonderful time on the cruise, saw a young dolphin close to the boat, took a nature walk, and learned about lots of types of marine life and birds. Our kids ages ten, eight and five, were all very interested and engaged. We definitely recommend.

Thank Guatejoe

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?