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Venice Train Depot

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Address: 303 E Venice Ave, Seaboard Avenue, Venice, FL 34285-4617
Phone Number:
+1 941-412-0151
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Mon 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Wed 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Fri 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Free Train Depot Tours are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays...

Free Train Depot Tours are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 am - 3 pm November 1st through April 30th. This is in addition to our year-round tours available on Saturdays from 10 am - 1 pm. Docents are VAHS members. In 1903, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Air Line Railway brought the first train into what is now Sarasota County. In 1911, the tracks were extended 16.5 miles south at the request of Bertha Honore Palmer, a Chicago businesswoman who was a major landholder in the area. Palmer named the new terminal Venice. The original train stop and sidings were located near the current corner of St. Augustine Avenue and Tampa Avenue West. In 1925, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) purchased land to develop the City of Venice according to a plan drafted by city planner John Nolan. The BLE recognized that a new depot would be essential for importing materials and attracting potential land buyers and visitors to Venice. Completed in 1927 at the height of Venice's early development, the new Depot was the last structure built before the BLE closed operations in Venice in 1928. Designed by the architectural firm of Walker & Gillette, the Depot is historically and architecturally significant. Built as a racially segregated building with two waiting rooms, it was 50 feet wide and 400 feet long. The Depot's architecture embodies the Mediterranean Revival style planned for the City of Venice. When opened on March 27, 1927, the Depot heralded as the finest station on the Seaboard Air Line Railway. The last passenger train departed from the Depot in 1971, but freight traffic continued until 1997. The Depot building closed in 1975, and it subsequently fell into disrepair and decline. Sarasota County purchased the structure in 1999 and renovated it in 2002-2003. Dedicated on October 24, 2003, the restored Depot stands as a magnificent representation of the architecture of early Venice. The renovation added 40 feet on the south side of the building, and the additional space accommodates the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus system hub at the Depot.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 46 reviews
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    Very good
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Review of Venice Fl train station

I grew up in Venice and remember when the Ringling Brothers Circus came to town for the Winter. It was so exciting to see the animals getting off. I am so glad they restored the... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed August 21, 2016
Marie C
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46 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 46: English reviews
Nokomis, Florida
Level Contributor
149 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2016

So much history ///tour is incredible...It will blow your mind away...tour is free...and will keep you well informed...caboose is not far away...

Thank Kearhartkbds
Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2016

I grew up in Venice and remember when the Ringling Brothers Circus came to town for the Winter. It was so exciting to see the animals getting off. I am so glad they restored the train station to preserve the nostalgia of our town. The guide was very good and we enjoyed the tour. They only ask for donations to... More 

Thank Marie C
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2016

Absolutely one of the best local tours we have had. Our Docent, Ann Thompson was very articulate and knowledgeable of the history of Venice, FL, the railroad, circus and Kentucky Military Institutes contribution to the creation and growth of Venice. We salute the Venice Historical Society, City Government and County Government for their contribution to the historical preservation of history... More 

1 Thank dthorpeiii
anthompson, Historic Venice Train Depot Docent at Venice Train Depot, responded to this review

Dan and Barbara Thorpe, from the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish, FL, visited the Historic Venice Train Depot on Friday. As the Docent that morning, I enjoyed swapping stories with the Thorpes and discussing the importance of preserving history. Their museum actually offers train rides, while our train tracks are simply "decorative." More 

Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2016

They stand mostly abandoned and forgotten all over our vest country, build by RR system. The Train Depot in Venice is one of lucky ones that received TLC from the local train enthusiasts and people who care about our history and heritage. One doesn't have to travel far to see it. Like most of RR stations it's located just across... More 

1 Thank Albert L
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
41 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2016

History and or train enthusiasts will love this place. Excellent and knowledgeable docents make for an enjoyable experience. Location is great for walkers/runners or bikers. Free -but do leave a donation.

2 Thank FilRon
Ohio, USA
Level Contributor
58 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2016

It was a beautiful day so we parked in the free parking in town, walked to the beach and on it for a while, then back through town to the train depot and back to our car. About 5 miles total. The bridge has stairs that go down to near the train depot but only on the south side of... More 

Thank Sue L
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2016

It's sort of a hidden gem. It's not just a train depot but also has a caboose, a picnic area and a tribute to Ringling circus. The whole campus overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway which is beautiful and relaxing. The tour guide was very personable and knowledgable. I have lived here for many years and had no idea about most of... More 

2 Thank Jasmine N
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
252 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2016

Went on a Tuesday and it was closed. Looked through windows and into caboose. Nice to see statue of Guenter Goebel-Williams, which reminded me of seeing him in performance.

1 Thank MadisonGrog
United States
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2016 via mobile

Very nice docents and interesting displays of the history of rails as they relate to Venice if you are interested in history or history of Barnum and Bailey Circus or Kentucky Military Institute. Not a long stop but it's free and signing the visitors book helps their status as a museum.

1 Thank Deana S
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
35 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2015 via mobile

The old Depot is a wonderful way to learn the history of Venice and the circus as well as trains and train stations of the past.

Thank SGWiener

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