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“A decent couple of hours”

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
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$49.00*
and up
Small-Group Tour: 3-Hour Mysteries of Native Florida Hike
Ranked #5 of 145 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.
Reviewed June 24, 2007

If you come all the way to area just to see Mote, or if you expect something groundbreaking an wonderful, you will be disappointed. It desperately needs to be updated and remodeled, the staff is largely older folks (many of whom seem unhappy and poorly informed), and many of the exhibits seem to have survived unchanged since the 1970s.

However, if you happen to be in the Sarasota/Longboat Key/Anna Maria Island area and you need a non-beach activity to keep you or your kids occupied for a couple of hours, Mote's not a bad bet. We went last week during our stay on Anna Maria on a cloudy day and our daughter had a good time. She's only 5, so she's not as particular as an older kid might be. The main indoor displays are nice, especially the jellyfish and the touch pools. The Manatees are nice. The shark display is sad and embarrassing, and the squid display is just disappointing. We sat through the 12-minute shark movie, and while our daughter was engaged we couldn't stop laughing at the 1960s technology.

Mote is a fantastic institution that does a lot more than just run the aquarium, and it's too bad that the aquarium is such a poor ambassador for the institute. It's also too bad that the aquarium does next to nothing to help you understand the larger role that Mote plays in the scientific community. I'd much rather sit through a good explanation of Mote's scientific work than look at that shark display again.

2  Thank Archie_Toothus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,200 - 3,204 of 3,345 reviews

Reviewed April 9, 2007

We were at the aquarium today and the visit was horrible. The dolphine exhibit was "closed" the manatee tank was so cloudy we could barely see them...and the place basically felt uncared for. I did some quick math and figure that it is about time for some of the hefty entrance fees to be put back into the exhibits. Really was lacking...and I really wanted to ask for my money back.

3  Thank jjsswalton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2005

I went to the acquarium on a Saturday in June because it was free.
Other than the jelly fish exhibit, it was very lacking.
This place reminded me of Weeki Watchi, back in the 60's they were both probably good places to go, however because neither have had updates, there is very little to see and the equipment is very dated.

We also went to the interactive movie. I don't know who invented this, but the game is confusing and makes no sense, it was a total waste.

The manatee and dolphins were not available to see, no reason given.

I guess the only reason I don't feel cheated was that it was free.
I actually liked Weeki Watchi alot more.

If you want to see a great acquarium go to Baltimore!

7  Thank RedTideAlert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2004

Although I prefer to see manatees in the wild at Crystal River and loggerhead turtles on the Florida east coast, this is a great place to view them up close. There are 2 very fat manatees and 2 loggerhead turtles. Staff is very knowledgeable.

10  Thank texasredhead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Phoenix, AZ.
314
Reviewed June 14, 2004

This place will be worth another visit when I visit Florica again in November. It is a beautiful place full of ocean life that is relative to the Florida coast. The workers are very knowledgable about the exibits. Thank You for a wonderful experience.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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