A renowned research facility, the Mote is also a popular tourist attraction that draws families and others interested in its international array of ocean creatures. A 135,000-gallon shark tank lets you view various types of sharks from above and below the surface. Other tanks show off eels, rays, and other marine creatures native to the area. There's also a touch tank where you can get friendly with horseshoe crabs, conchs, and other creatures. Fossil Creek offers aspiring
marine paleontologists a chance to sift through a bucket of sand for ancient shark teeth and fossilized stingray tails. The expanded Seahorse Conservation Lab offers a glimpse into the unusual creatures' lives and how the aquarium is working to help them survive and thrive. Hugh and Buffett are the resident manatees and, though not as venerable as Snooty at the Parker Manatee Aquarium, they have lived here since 1996 as part of a research program. There's also a permanent sea-turtle exhibit. For an extra fee, Sarasota Bay Explorers offers boat tours from the museum's dock (reservations required), guided kayak tours through the mangroves, private tours and a "Nature Safari."
Oct 25, 2003
There's a reason it's Sarasota's #1 attraction. This is a great aquarium, every bit as good as the Florida Aquarium up in Tampa.