412 South Tamiami Trail
Here, in an extraordinary place is an extraordinary collection of art. From the Rubens Galleries to Joseph’s Coat: a skyspace by James Turrell, view the permanent collection’s treasures, the fascinating exhibitions from around the world and the classical sculptures that fill the grand courtyard. The State Art Museum of Florida, this awe-inspiring museum was originally built by famed circus impresario John Ringling as a legacy to the citizens of Florida. This is a place of beauty and wonder.
The home of the circus king and his wife, a couple from humble mid-western origins, Ca’ d’Zan stands as a testament to the American Dream of the Roaring Twenties. Inspired by and designed in the Venetian Gothic style of the palazzos that ring the Venice canals, this dazzling palatial mansion perfectly captures the splendor and romance of the Italy the Ringlings so loved. To honor its owner, they named it Ca’ d’Zan, “House of John”, in the dialect of their beloved Venice.
The 26-foot-high statue was inspired by a famous photograph taken in New York's Times Square on V-J Day in 1945 of a World War II sailor bending over to kiss a woman. It has quickly become a landmark unlike any other in the Sarasota area, drawing dozens of people each day to visit, take photographs and revel in a bit of history. The next time you’re in the Sarasota area, be sure to stop by and take in this unique piece of culture and history. Connect with previous generations, then enjoy a perfect day along the waterfront in Sarasota’s most picturesque area.
Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus with bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment.
This cultural landmark less than 10 miles from the Downtown Sarasota campus boasts an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida prehistory. A onetime pioneer homestead and the former winter estate of Chicago-born Bertha Palmer, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Historic Spanish Point campus provides visitors the opportunity to explore that heritage via an ancient shell midden and collection of historic structures and serves as one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public. It was Palmer’s family who both donated the property and helped it become the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
A hidden gem surrounded by housing developments and major highways, Oscar Scherer plays an invaluable role in the preservation of Florida scrub-jay habitat. Bald eagles nest here in the winter, and in the summer, Lake Osprey attracts anglers and swimmers. South Creek attracts anglers, canoers and kayakers. Opened to the public in 1956 with 1,381 acres and 15 miles of trails, this park provides solitude, beauty, challenge and a healthy adventure for everyone. Oscar Sherer is a popular stopover for bicyclists and walkers on the Legacy Trail, making this an important place for the surrounding community and a worthwhile stop for travelers. The park attracts over 250,000 visitors each year with opportunities for canoeing, fishing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.
In the early 1930's, local residents recognized the Myakka River Valley as a valuable part of their heritage and worked to establish one of Florida's first state parks. Myakka River State Park was opened in 1942. The Myakka River was designated a Florida Wild and Scenic River by the State legislature in 1985. It is the only river in Florida to be recognized with this special status. The act provides for preservation and management of the 34 mile portion of the river within Sarasota County. Boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on the water while hikers and bicyclists explore miles of trails and backroads.