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“Wonderful” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
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Ranked #11 of 126 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located at the Mote Marine Laboratory, this is home to a 135,000 gallon outdoor shark tank and many other marine species.
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
66 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
133 helpful votes 133 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2009

This was such a wonderful experience for our family. We saw Manatees up close and personal. It is a hands on aquarium the staff are so friendly and knowledgeable. It is not commercialized at all, small scale aquarium but completely worth it. I would definitely recommend this Aquarium.

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Naples, Florida
1 review
“A lot of fun for the whole family.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2009

Mote Aquarium is a lot of fun, very clean, and the people working there (mostly volunteers) were very knowledgeable and friendly. The animals all had nice, well-kept enclosures. It only takes a few hours to view the whole place, and if you are looking for a Disney-type attraction, this is not it. The chance to see manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish and other sea life up close was well worth the trip. And, there is a very nice touch tank and a sting ray petting area that thrilled my young daughter. There are lots of signs that explain the important research being done. I would highly recommend Mote Aquarium and think it would be enjoyable for all ages.

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Fort Worth, TX
Top Contributor
348 reviews 348 reviews
186 attraction reviews
Reviews in 134 cities Reviews in 134 cities
321 helpful votes 321 helpful votes
“A great little aquarium where the staff make the difference”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2009

Is it a little pricey to get in - yes, but Mote is a not-for-profit organization so we didn't even blink about paying. The aquarium is three different buildings. The first we visited had larger sea animals like dolphins, manatees and several types of sea turtles. At each display staff members approached us with the history of the animals, stories about them and information about the species. We were lucky enough to see the dolphin feeding and training session.

The second building is the formal aquarium that has a medium sized amount of indoor exhibits and a larger outdoor space with sharks, touch tanks, a sting ray petting tank and even a dead giant squid on display. Again staff were always friendly and engaging. A cool touch is they have an area where for a few dollars kids can pan through sand to find shark teeth. My daughter had so much fun doing that she spent her own money to do it three times.

The third area is an aquatic bird rescue area that is run by another organization but is free to tour. All the birds on display are in some level of rehabilitation. They had owls, cranes, pelicans, parrots and so on. The sadded were the larger herons all with one leg missing. We asked the keeper and he said they had all been hit by golf balls that broken their leg so it had to be amputated.

All in all a fun day for our family and we would definitely go back.

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Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“nice boat ride”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2009

We purchased combined aquarium and boat tour tickets. The boat ride was very nice. We passed some nice homes on the bay before we did a little nature walk on one island. On the way back they dropped a net and brought in small sea creatures which everyone enjoyed passing around and viewing. The aquarium was small but nice. They offered a section where you could sift for sharks teeth. My daughter really enjoyed that. A very pleasant way to spend a few hours.

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Macon, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Fun Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2009

My 12 and 8 year old girls and I went on a Nature Safari with Mote and then spent the rest of our day exploring the aquarium. The safari was a great experience, cost was around $110 for the 3 of us. Took a little over 2 hours. Our tide was very high and so we got extremely wet. Phone staff did not prepare us for any of this. If you go, wear a swimsuit with shorts over it and water shoes that you can walk in water with and they won't come off (not flip flops). Also, you might consider bug spray and be sure and wear LOTS of sunscreen. We had a very good time and we learned a lot about the local sea life, unfortunately we did not see a manatee or a dolphin. I researched the website and thought admission to Mote was included, but was wrong. Mote was enjoyable, call ahead and try to find out when they will be working with the dolphins, we made the last 2 min. of this. Kids really enjoyed tanks where they could touch the marine life. Now they can say they touched a stingray!

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