Venice Municipal Airport (VNC) 150 Airport Avenue East, Venice, Florida 34285. This is a smaller, general aviation airport that does not offer scheduled airline service. This is a great stop for private, civilian aircraft. VNC is 7.4 miles west of I-75 exit 193.
The Intracoastal Waterway is a fantastic way to navigate the coastline of Sarasota County. There are many marinas at which you can dock boats and boat launches for smaller vessels. Take care to note the speed limits, especially in designated manatee zones.
The Ringling Estate, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Phone: 941-359-5700, . Daily 10AM-5:30PM. The Ringling Estate has recently finished a six-year restoration and expansion phase that restored all of the existing buildings and added four new buildings to the estate. Features of the 66-acre estate include the lush grounds and landscaping including Mable’s Rose Garden, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Cà d’Zan Mansion, the Tibbals Learning Center, and the Historic Asolo Theater located in the Visitor’s Pavilion.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, . The Museum of Art, built by John Ringling to house his personal collection of masterpieces, today features the great Old Masters including Rubens, van Dyck, Velàzquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Vernonese, El Greco, Gainsborough and more. Opened in October 1931, the Museum recently opened the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing in 2007, adding an additional 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. The Museum’s 21 galleries feature internationally renowned European, American and Asian art with masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Courtyard of the Museum of Art features casts of original statues including the towering David by Michelangelo. The Courtyard features two fountains - Fountain of Tortoises, one of three replicas from the Piazza Mattei in Rome, and the Oceanus Fountain, copied from the 16th century original by Giovanni Bologna in Florence’s Boboli Gardens.
Circus Museum, . Established in 1948, the Ringling Museum of the American Circus was the first museum of its kind to document the rich history of the circus. The Museum has a fine collection including rare handbills, posters and art prints, circus paper, business records, wardrobe, performing props, as well as all types of circus equipment, including beautifully carved parade wagons. Located in the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center, The Howard Bros. Circus Model is a replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919 – 1938. Complete with eight main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train, the model is built in ¾-inch-to-the-foot scale replica and occupies 3,800 square feet.
Cà d’Zan, . The Ringlings' dazzling palatial mansion is a tribute to the American Dream and reflects the splendor and romance of Italy. Described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, Cà d’Zan has 56 incredible rooms filled with art and original furnishings. With its Venetian Gothic architecture, the mansion is a combination of the grandeur of Venice’s Doge’s Palace, combined with the gothic grace of Cà d’Oro and Sarasota Bay serves as the Grand Canal.
The Historic Asolo Theater, . An 18th-century treasure in a 21st-century venue, the Historic Asolo Theater is a work of art in its own right. The palace playhouse was created in Asolo, Italy to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen of Cyprus. In the late 1940s, the theater was brought to the Ringling Estate and served as the first stage for many of the community’s most recognized performance organizations. Today the theater features a diverse performance schedule including theatre, dance, film, music, and lectures.
Mote Marine Aquarium 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, 34236. Approximately 9.8 miles west of I-75 exit 210. Aquarium and research laboratory. There are a wide variety of species that can be viewed, including Florida natives, the manatee. There are opportunities to physically touch marine life such as cow-nosed rays. Admission to the aquarium is $19 per person for adults and children over 13 years,$18 for seniors, $14 for children aged 4-12 years and free for children under 3 years. The aquarium is open daily from 10AM to 5PM.
Casey Key Off Blackburn Point Rd west off S. Tamiami Trail (SR-41) in Osprey. A narrow, one lane road on a thin barrier island. It is worth a look because of the impressive, chateau-like homes that have been built on it. At the southern point of the island, there is access to a public beach and a fishing jetty.
Siesta Key Beach 948 Beach Rd, Siesta Key, FL 34242. West off I-75 exit 205 for SR 72 (Clark Road). A beautiful, world-famous, beach known for its white quartz sand. It is the most popular beach in the Sarasota and usually the busiest, especially during the spring break season. Amenities include parking, a beach pavilion, picnic tables and restrooms.
Turtle Beach Midnight Pass Rd, Siesta Key, FL. West off 1-75 exit 205 for SR-72 (Clark Road). Amenities include picnic and playground areas, a volleyball court and a horseshoe pit. This beach does not sport quite the same white sand as Siesta Key beach, but the beach can be less crowded and is great for looking for shells and sharks teeth.
Venice Beach 101 The Espalanade, Venice, FL 34285. West off I-75 exit 193 for Jacaranda blvd. Amenities include picnic tables, volleyball, restrooms and a concession stand. For scuba enthusiasts there is a reef ¼ mile offshore. This is a good beach for searching for fossilized sharks teeth, which can be found in the sands.
Brohard Paw Park 1600 Harbor Dr, S., Venice FL 34285. A dog friendly beach! A great stop if you’re traveling with your pet. Amenities include showers and drinking fountains for dogs and doggy restrooms (fire hydrants).
Caspersen Beach 4100 Harbor Dr, Venice FL 34285. A great location for looking for fossilized sharks' teeth. There are picnic areas and a playground area. However, there is no lifeguard on duty.
Myakka River State Park 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL USA 34241. This is one of Florida’s largest and oldest state parks and is located east of I-75 exit 205. The park offers a great variety of recreational activities. In addition to hiking and horse trails, there is a canopy walk that allows you to walk through a 100 feet of tree cover with the option of climbing a 74’ observation tower. Water activities include fishing, canoeing and kayaking and a large airboat tour. Be aware that alligators are numerous, potentially dangerous and should never be approached. Other potentially hazardous wildlife include venomous snakesand wild boar/ feral hogs wild boar/ feral hogs.
South Lido Nature Park 190 Taft Dr.Lido Key, Sarasota, FL 34236. Paddle through the mangrove tunnels by kayak or canoe (though maneuvering can be more difficult in a canoe). There is a great variety of wildlife that can be seen, including manatees, dolphins and mangrove climbing crabs! This is a fantastic spot for bird watching. Cormorants oftentimes follow kayaks and will swim close to the boats. Kayak trails are marked. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and, if you have one, a waterproof camera.
St. Armand's Circle. Shopping center on Lido Key designed by John Ringling. It's home to upscale restaurants, shops and art galleries. Even if you do not intend to make any purchases, it is worth walking around and window shopping. The circle's architecture has a lot of character. St. Armand's is approximately 9.2 miles west of I-75 exit 210.