Regarded as one of the cultural centers of the state of Florida since the 1920s, Sarasota has drawn a number of musicians, performers, writers and artists of many disciplines who have come here to rest their body and spirit. The city is home to Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Florida West Coast Symphony, Sarasota Music Festival and plentiful other theatrical, musical and artistic venues.
Located here is also Sarasota School of Architecture that developed as an adaptation to the sub-tropical climate; Mote Marine Laboratory - a major marine research; G-Wiz Museum appealing to children of all ages; Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with its fantastic orchid collection; Sarasota Jungle Gardens carrying on early attraction traditions; and much more.
For those interested in arts, Sarasota Florida is truly a unique destination offering such an astonishing variety of sites and venues that can be hardly found in any other city of the nation. In addition to the outstanding John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the city is home to over 40 exhibition spaces and art galleries, all of them being open all-the-year-round. Possibly the most convenient point to start your travels is the Art Center Sarasota Florida featuring a sculpture garden and three galleries, which present the largest display of works by local and national artists, from jewelry and sculpture to pottery and paintings.
Generally recognized as one of the top attractions in Sarasota Florida, FSU Ringling Center for the Cultural Arts was established by John Ringling and is filled today with over 500 years of American and European masterpieces, including collections of decorative arts and travel exhibits. Dedicated to circus memorabilia is the Ringling Museum of the Circus which contains colorful posters, costumes, calliopes and parade wagons. Visitors will also admire the historic Asolo Theatre, a 19th century Italian court playhouse which was moved here in the late 1950s. Today it is the centerpiece of the Florida State University Center for Performing Arts.
Another prominent attraction of Sarasota Florida, Gulf Coast Wonder and Imagination Zone is the state-of-the-art science center with two floors of exhibits covering earth, health and physical sciences. The 35 themed exhibits of the ExploraZone range from mathematics and music to sight and illusion.
Located northeast of downtown Bradenton, Gamble Plantation is regarded as one of the oldest constructions on the western coast of Florida and a wonderful example of the antebellum plantation home. Established during the late 1840s, it is maintained now as a state historic site and contains a fine collection of 19th century furnishings. A five-minute drive from it is Prime Outlet Ellenton, so that visitors can combine Sarasota tours to Gamble Plantation with bargain hunting.
A definite must-see for plant lovers and those looking for excellent photo options, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens claims to be the only botanical garden worldwide that specializes in preservation, research and study of epiphytes. It is home to nearly 20,000 exotic plants, as well as a waterfall garden, a hibiscus garden, two tropical food gardens, a bamboo pavilion, a fernery and much more!
Sarasota Florida, your first visit won't be your last!