If you are a parent that has children home for summer break, I know that you are counting the days until August. But, hold on, it doesn't have to be that bad. Turn those fights between siblings into lasting happy memories. How, you ask? Well, I did some searching, and I found that there is a lot to do around here with your kids. Here’s the best part – it’ll be fun for you too, and they won’t even know it.
Start off by thinking of things that your kids like to do. My children love animals. So, I picked the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. When we arrived, I was a little disappointed. The Gift Shop smelled musty and looked like it hadn't’t been renovated since the Nixon administration. But, once we started walking around, the kids really enjoyed the alligators and having their picture taken with parrots clinging to their arms.
The walk on the Nature Trail was interesting with its beautiful exotic plants and small waterfalls. It had a pungent odor of sulfur that wafted through the air, which was a little unpleasant. (Visit on a day after it has rained – it doesn’t smell as bad.) On the trail you have an opportunity to feed (for 25 cents) flamingos and an array of turtles, and even a stray duck or squirrel. You can see vultures and owls, and even a set of cuddly lemurs.
The “don’t miss” shows are definitely the Alligator feedings and Birds of Prey which has a show called Critters and Things immediately following it. The shows are offered twice daily. But get there early, seating is limited.
They have a food court. Also, not too impressive, but it does have a nice Koi pond that the kids can look at. The ‘menu’ is reasonably priced and it offers hot dogs, burgers and the like. The bathrooms are equipped with two stalls and a baby changing station, and, most importantly - they are clean.
If you like what you see here, I would recommend getting the Family pass for $60.00. You can go back an unlimited number of times and stay as long or as short as you want. General admission is $11.00 for adults, and $7.00 for kids. Kids under three are free.
So, don’t pull your hair out just yet. There are fun and inexpensive things to do here in the Sarasota/Bradenton area!