When people hear the word Sarasota we used to think retirement, but not anymore. Sarasota has become a great place to raise a family. With a combined 86 public and private schools in Sarasota with many ranking in the top 20 for both Florida and the entire U.S.!
If you’re seeking private schools for your kids, The Out-of-Door Academy and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School both have students with high average ACT and SAT scores. Pine View School is ranked as the best public elementary school in America and takes pride in all of their students achievements. There’s also Riverview High School, an outstanding institution that values diversity, academics, and athletics. For those thinking about furthering their education, the Sarasota area also has many colleges to choose from, including University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Ringling College of Arts & Design, and New College of Florida.
Art connoisseurs of every kind will discover that the art scene in Sarasota is just as vibrant as it is diverse! Experience world-class opera performances at the Sarasota Opera House, or watch the dancers of the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, and Sarasota Contemporary Dance glide gracefully across the stage. The Asolo Repertory Theatre is Florida’s premier professional theatre and hosts up to 15 different productions each year, such as The Music Man, The Crucible, and locally-written plays. Searching for fun things to do in Sarasota with your friends or kids? The Circus Arts Conservatory offers a variety of sensational circus performances that are designed to make the audience feel as though they’re a part of the show! There are also eight different art exhibits to explore in the city, ranging from architecture galleries to galleries focused on contemporary and visual arts.
Let’s not forget our amazing beaches! Soak up the sun at one of the many Sarasota, Florida beaches! This city is home to shores with the finest white-quartz sand and some of the clearest waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Not to mention, any activity you can think of from scuba diving to hiking! Boasting 12 miles of shoreline, Longboat Key beckons visitors and locals to the dazzling waters of Whitney Beach and Beer Can Beach. Manasota Key has four beaches— Manasota, Blind Pass, Englewood, and Stump Pass—that are perfect for checking out all of Florida’s flora and fauna. If you’re looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, head over to Lido Key to spend time dolphin watching, sailing, or deep sea fishing at Lido Beach. Located in Siesta Key, Siesta Beach has earned the reputation of one of the best beaches in America, as well as one of the best places to go in Sarasota. Grab a few friends for a Sip-N-Cycle Cruise, or see artists put their skills to the test at the International Sand Sculpting Festival.
We also have beloved history here in places like the Ringling Museum. In 1911, John Ringling (one of the original owners of the “The Greatest Show on Earth”) and his wife Mable purchased land in the Sarasota area to call home during the winter months. Today, the Ringling Estate is home to some of the most spectacular and well-known Sarasota attractions. The Museum of Art holds an extraordinary collection of sculptures and paintings acquired by John Ringling himself, as well as rotating contemporary exhibits from all over the world. Locals and visitors of all ages flock to the Circus Museum to admire all of the beautiful costumes, performance props, hand-carved parade wagons, and other memorabilia from Ringling Bros circus shows over the past century. Located toward the back of the property, The Ringlings’ 56-room mansion (also known as Ca’ d’Zan) overlooks the Sarasota Bay. Take a peek inside to see how one of the richest couples in America lived!
You’ll never get bored with all of the fun and exciting things to do in Sarasota! Take a walk on the wild side and see some of nature’s most gorgeous creatures at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary. Not only will kids be able meet adorable baby primates, but they will also get to see a Majestic Liger. The adventurer in your family will love the Myakka River State Park for its ample opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and tons of other outdoor activities. Check out the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to observe manatees, or watch the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees put on a grand water ski performance. There’s truly no place like the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy! This extraordinary museum brings whimsical art to life and is one of the top things to do in Sarasota for kids of any age!
Sarasota has turned into a diverse area with so many things for families to enjoy and it only seems to be getting family friendlier.