Sarasota has plenty of year-round events and entertainment to please everyone’s taste, but there are also some wonderful museums that people often overlook when they spend time in the area on vacation or for business trips. These museums can offer something for everyone as well, and a day trip to one of these museums can be an unexpected highlight.
Here are the top 5 museums that the Sarasota area has to offer.
1) The Ringling
5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
Not only is The Ringling the State Art Museum of Florida, but it is one of the preeminent art and cultural collections in the United States. Originally built by circus entrepreneur John Ringling and wife, Mabel, it serves as their legacy – a place of art, architecture and circus in an environment that inspires all who enter. If you have never visited The Ringling, you are long overdue to visit.
The museum is truly a wonder to behold and the priceless treasures are a gateway into our past. Admissions, tours and special events vary in price. Please see their website for more information.
2) Sarasota Classic Car Museum
5500 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
There are over 100 antique, classic, vintage, collectible and rare cars on display at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. Even if you aren’t a car buff, you’ll surely be impressed with immaculately restored automobiles and the incredible craftsmanship that span over a one-hundred year history.
This museum is also the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the United States.
3) Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy
2121 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
And now for something completely different… the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy features offbeat, contemporary paintings, sculptures and other artwork. It is dedicated to the creative human spirit and raising the importance of whimsical art. More than 250 artists are represented and the art is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face, whether you are young or young at heart.
The museum is open until May 23rd, 2020, so don’t miss your chance to see this unique and delightful museum.
4) Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
900 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a 15-acre living museum located on the shores of Sarasota Bay. It is the only botanical garden dedicated to the study and conservation of epiphytes, better known as air plants like orchids, bromeliads and gesneriads. It is perhaps best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids. On the grounds, you can explore a children’s rainforest garden, tropical glass house conservatory and lush grounds with two historic homes.
One of the most beautiful properties in all of Florida, Selby Gardens is just a few minutes from Siesta Key.
5) The Bishop Museum of Science and Industry
201 10th Street W., Bradenton, FL 34205
The Bishop Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast and features amazing exhibits. There is also an all-digital planetarium, which is the Gulf Coast’s premiere astronomy education facility. The museum also includes the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, a Stage 2 manatee rehab facility. Here you can view manatees being cared for in their underwater viewing window.
The Bishop Museum is a great way to be entertained and educated at the same time.
Sarasota proves that museums don’t have to be boring or purely educational. There are so many things to see, do and enjoy at these five museums that you’ll probably want to plan your next visit soon after you’re finished with the first.