Finding Sarasota Events
Sarasota is a very cultural town and great galleries, art and restaurants are available.
There are allot of local events that are fantastic - Jazz events, circus events, large charities, top opera, film festivals....
To find out the best events see the Sarasota Magazine
Charles Ringling's Mansion a.k.a. College Hall
You probably won't see this place on any tour maps, but College Hall, the main instructional building for Literature at New College of Florida is a really neat place to visit. The former mansion only has classrooms upstairs, with the bottom pretty much preserved. Made of imported Italian marble, it was originally built for Charles Ringling (brother of John Ringling, of Ringling Bros. Circus) and his wife. They donated the mansion in their last will to the city of Sarasota, which in turn gave it to the college.
Inside the historic mansion, you can see the music room, ballroom, terrace, staircase with modern mural giving homage to the Ringling legacy, and the amazing backyard that overlooks Sarasota Bay. There's also a rose garden with several rare species of roses to check out and some awesome Banyan trees.
It's right next to the Ringling Museum and a nice place to stop for some real Sarasota history.
To find it, just take US 41 North from the airport. Turn right on General Spaatz Blvd. Follow the signs to College Hall. Be sure to park in visitor parking.
Not Just Seafood
The Crab and Fin is pretty much a staple in Sarasota - the seafood (though I think it's yucky to eat animals) is fresh and the service is great. Also, its right on St. Armand's, so you can walk around the shops or go down to the beach after you eat. It's not expensive, but it is dessier than most of the beach eatteries. This is a great place to take your boyfriend's parents or your grandmother or just go hang out with friends to celebrate a special night.
I like to sit at one of the sidewalk tables and people watch, but the dining room is really nice, too. It gets pretty packed on Friday and Saturday, so I would call ahead. I had some ravioli here that was totally freaking amazing.
"Hands-on" touch tanks enabled us to pet the stingless stringrays & experience the feel of horseshoe crabs,sea stars,and other marine animals.It took some time for my child to take courage into her hands & touch one of them,after being assured by me & an aquarium worker that it would not hurt or bite her!You'll also see a 25 foot perfectly preserved giant squid;one of only two in the United states
Marie Salby Botanical Gardens ...
Marie Salby Botanical Gardens is a “must see” for serious plant lovers, this peaceful place on the Sarasota Bay is said to be the only botanical garden in the world specializing in the preservation, study, and research of epiphytes; that is, “air plants” such as orchids.
Botanical Gardens www.selby.org is home to more than 20,000 exotic plants, including more than 6,000 orchids, as well as bamboo grove, butterfly garden, fernery, tropical food gardens, the Payne Mansion, baywalk along the mangroves (a native shore-plant community), banyan grove and more…See more about the Garden in my Travelogue.