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“Excellent Aquarium”

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
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Sarasota Bayfront Kayaking with Optional Selby Garden Tour
Ranked #4 of 143 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Located at the Mote Marine Laboratory, this is home to a 135,000 gallon outdoor shark tank and many other marine species.
Pinellas Park, Florida, USA
Level Contributor
223 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Excellent Aquarium”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

We really enjoyed this aquarium - it had a good balance of small fish (with information signs and volunteers contributing helpful information), and large - manatees, sharks, loggerhead turtles, and a dolphin rescue area. It reminded me of the Clearwater Aquarium, but on a larger scale. We spent several hours there and enjoyed the sea lion show, which we caught when we first arrived. Two hours later, as we were leaving, the next show was starting. Mote is split between 2 buildings, with the majority of it housed in the main building, while the larger fish and mammals were across the street. Very nice, easy to get around, and the sea lions were probably the highlight, as far as interactivity goes. If you stay for the immersion experience, you'll spend more time there. I think it's more for younger kids, so we didn't do it. There is also a separate fee boating expedition, but we did not sign up for that, as some of us get seasick too easily.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank jandc5744
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bay Village, Ohio
Level Contributor
58 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Very informative view of what lives beneath the surface!”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

We were looking for an activity for a rainy, chilly winter day, and are so glad we chose the Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, FL. The displays are very well kept and labeled and cover all kinds for water life. Many displays are close enough to the floor to make for easy viewing by children as well as adults. Docents were readily available to answer questions throughout the main building. Another "laboratory" building is on the grounds, accessed by a paved path. There interns were working with sea turtles training them to recognize geometric shapes u nder water. They explained and demonstrated the process for observers. There were also huge tanks with manatees and other native Florida water life.

Upon entering the main building, we received a list of movies and live shows for that specific day. Unfortunately, each event was only scheduled once per day. The sea lion show audience area was completely filled more than an hour before showtime, so we opted for a movie about "red tide" instead. The classroom facility was spacious and very well-maintained. Would recommend this aquarium for children of all ages!

Visited February 2013
1 Thank busybabe555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
89 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“A great research facility.”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

This was our 3rd visit to Mote and they've added some interesting things. The Sea Lion show was a bit of a pleasant surprise for us. Some folks in our group were disappointed because they didn't understand that this is primarily a research and rehab facility as opposed to an exhibition.

Visited February 2013
2 Thank Mike16248
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colden, New York
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A facinating place to learn about Marine Life!”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I have been SCUBA diving for over 40 years and love to continually learn and explore the sea whether it is in the water or on dry land or in a boat. My wife can't Go diving with me so the next best thing is to visit an aquarium. The Mote Marine Laboratory and aquarium has a vast variety of exhibits and learning experiences. In the aquarium building there was an abundance of species that are are native to this area and I was happy to see creatures that I had never seen before, there was also an entertaining exhibit with seals that helped to edjucate kids hoe important it it to keep the ocean waters clean by not polluting which employed 2 trainers and 3 sea lions in a fun and engaging show of therir acting abilities. After the aquarium we went on a Pontoon boat excursion in the bay at 4 pm. there was an excursion leader who is a marine biology doing graduate research who did the bulk of the speaking about many aspects of the bay- from history to marine life and many subjects in between, she was very well versed and was happy to answer any questions. There was a stop on an uninhabited island where another guide told us about the trees and other living entities there. the Captain of the boat was funny and made sure that we got to see a few bottle-nosed dolphins while we cruised. The guides even cast a net to bring up and show a sampling of some of the native sea creatures that dwell in the sea grass beds. There were Puffer fish, pipe fish, sea horses, various small crabs,Mollusks and even a Bat fish- weird looking! Much of the cruise toured along the coast we got to see the luxurious homes built there.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank crawdaddy333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lecanto, Florida
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Nice aquarium”
Reviewed March 14, 2013

The aquarium is part of the overall Mote research facility and is quite informative. In addition to the typical aquarium exhibits, they have special events, such as the sea lion show we saw while there, which was worth the price of the visit.

Visited February 2013
Thank Nukepr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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