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5 Must Visit Animal Attractions in Sarasota

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Whether you love aquatic sea life or are an avid cat lover, there are plenty of animal attractions in the Sarasota area!  These fun animal attractions not only offer fun activities for the weekend but also supporting these spots help to provide funding to help care for the animals.  

Looking for your next weekend trip?  Check out our master guide on animal attractions below!

Mote Aquarium

Mote Aquarium is a independent marine research institution located in Sarasota.  This spot is a local gem, well known by the Sarasota locals.  The scientists at Mote rescue and rehabilitate local animals who are injured by fishing lures and boating accidents.   We love their manatee exhibit, showcasing one of Florida’s most iconic animals.  They also have exhibits of turtles, fish, stingrays, and sharks!  

The staff at Mote Aquarium is extremely knowledgable, offering additional guidance on the information provided at each exhibit.  You can also learn about conservation and sustainable use of our oceans through their own research and education.  

Sunday – Saturday | 9:30AM–5PM

📍 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a local tourist attraction that sits on over 10 acres of botanical plants and birds!  Serving the Sarasota area since 1939, this beautiful stretch of land features jungle trails for local hikers, animal shows, and petting zoos.  We love their exhibits where you can get up close and personal with their pink flamingos. For an even more interactive experience, you can actually purchase food to feed the flamingos!

Monday – Wednesday | Closed
Thursday – Sunday | 10AM–3:30PM

📍 3701 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat is an animal sanctuary and viewing center that is dedicated to providing a permanent home for exotic and domestic animals who were living in unfit conditions.  The Sanctuary offers more than cats, but even bears and camels!  We love visiting this spot with family, especially for their animal encounters.  You are able to get super close to the animal, with just open-air, chain link fences between you and the big cats.  The best part of the Sanctuary is being able to see the animals be healthy, versus living in inhumane conditions.  

Monday – Thursday | Closed
Friday – Sunday | 12–4PM

📍 7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240

Save Our Seabirds

Save Our Seabirds is a bird rescue and rehabilitation center.  We love this spot because they are not just a viewing center but they also release birds back into the world after they are nursed back to health!  Birds that are not able to be released are viewable in their Wild Bird Learning Center.  Here you can observe over 150 birds, spanning over 60 different species.  This is the perfect for bird watchers from a beginner to expert level!   You can view everything from owls to hawks and vultures! 

Located to the Mote Aquarium, you can easily make a day out of the Save Our Seabirds center and move to the aquarium upon finishing up.  

Sunday – Saturday | 10AM–5PM

📍 1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236

The Cat Depot

 The Cat Depot might be the cutest animal attraction on our list.  The Cat Depot is a Sarasota cat shelter, with a beautiful environment.  Each cat is housed in their own open and airy pod, instead of dark cages.  The pods even have “catios” where they can have outside time as well!  

After visiting Cat Depot, you’re going to want to take your favorite kitten home – which is great as each cat is up for adoption!  This is a great place to visit with friends for their Yoga with Cats class!  At the end of the day, not only do you get to fawn over these cute creatures but you can even help the shelter by taking home a cat of your own.

Serving the Sarasota area, The Cat Depot is known for helping the community.  Volunteers save cats from the streets and bring them home to The Cat Depot for rehabilitation and veterinary clinic attention.  Not looking to volunteer?  Visit their gift shop, which helps to support funds to save more cats and provide them the proper, loving homes they deserve.

Monday – Friday | 11AM–7PM
Saturday – Sunday | 11AM–5PM

📍 2542 17th St, Sarasota, FL 34234

Must Visit Animal Attractions in Sarasota

Excited about exploring different animal attractions in Sarasota? Let us know your favorite by tagging @StuffToDoInTampaBay on Instagram and Facebook!

Jacky Saunders

Jacky Saunders

Jacky is a blogger for the Stuff to Do in Tampa Bay City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Tampa Bay area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinTampaBay on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.

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