Enjoy an up close look at Florida’s local marine life at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a great place to take the entire family during your stay in Sarasota. Mote proudly boasts more than 100 species of marine life, two touch tanks, and a 135,000-gallon shark habitat. There are numerous exhibits and events that offer unique and fun experiences with its aquatic residents.
The Mote aquarium certainly isn’t just for show. Sarasota’s coastal location enables Mote to be at the forefront of marine biological research and technology. With more than 200 employees and 35 scientists working at Mote, guests are able to witness actual marine biological experiments and research in real time as they tour the aquarium. Mote’s mission is to provide a fun and educational environment to help locals and visitors better understand the unique ecosystems of Florida’s coast.
One of the ways Mote hopes to make an impact on Florida’s delicate ecosystems is through its dedication to Florida’s coral reef. Florida’s is the only domestic barrier reef system and is estimated to support up to 40% of all native marine life. As a result, it’s clear to see why Mote is so invested in learning about this ecosystem and doing everything possible to ensure its preservation.
Mote’s 10-year mission is to successfully restore more than 1,000 acres of coral reef in Florida. If this sounds like a daunting task, that’s because it is. Mote has already successfully planted corals in the Florida Keys that have resulted in more than 95% survival over the course of two years. With Mote’s continued efforts and support from the community, the team is confident that its 1,000-acre goal will be achieved.
Because Mote is a nonprofit installation, the aquarium relies heavily on federal funding and, of course, visitors like you. This is why Mote is dedicated to providing unique experiences to the public, such as their Breakfast with The Sharks exhibit. Two Saturdays a month, you can register to start your day off with a continental breakfast and a narrated tour of the shark exhibit at Mote. The sharks also love a hearty breakfast in the morning, so a feeding will take place during the tour with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
If the sun is shining and being active is more your speed, Mote also offers guided kayak tours of Sarasota Bay. Kayaking is a great, low-impact way to explore the coast and view marine and vegetation up close. Also, if your group is 18 or older, Mote provides a Full Moon Paddle, which is a kayak tour at dusk that is as relaxing as it is educational. You will be able to see the sights and hear the sounds of Florida’s nocturnal marine and coastal life.
Visiting Mote is not only fun, but it has a direct impact on Florida’s continual efforts to preserve and coexist with our precious marine life.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, FL. It is open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Military and group discounts are available.