Backyard Attractions - Local Activities to Explore This Summer
By Henry Winkle
What a year… As this pandemic reaches its first birthday we begin to see life in Florida return to a somewhat normal state. A lot of kids are back in school, offices are reopening and maybe life as we know it isn’t so hard anymore. So, as we begin to spread our wings, let’s remember to have some family fun!
Looking to immerse your family in a magical setting? Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the place to be! This popular spot boasts its very own Children’s Rainforest Garden; a spot for kids to unwind from the tedium of classes and gain a sense of adventure as they explore its huts, paths and even waterfalls. Stop by the kids’ corner for a quick scavenger hunt, or crafts session. A real tried and true family fun experience.
Want something more exotic? Try a hike to the top of the Celery Fields, once up there stop and listen for a moment, you may hear something very exotic just next door. Finish your hike around the one and only hill in Sarasota and join the line at the Big Cat Habitat. There you’ll find your next adventure, as there are some of the most beautiful animals in the world. You’ll first be greeted by some of the largest bears you have ever seen. Keep on walking and you may even spot the extremely rare Florida Panther. Watch all the napping cats enjoy their day in the sun and don’t forget to enjoy the afternoon show.
Not too far from there you may need to cool off a little. Just a short drive away you’ll find a true hidden gem called Sun N Fun. A massive RV Resort and waterpark, with some seriously cool waterslides. While the kids play there are some great areas for the adults to relax and maybe even grab a drink while their kids splash around and have some fun. Remember to ask about their summer camp, as they offer some truly great and exciting times for the kids.
When you start to get hungry, the next place on the list is a personal family favorite; “Man v. Food” even had to stop here to try their goliath hot dog. The Old Salty Dog has been a local favorite for decades. Sit down and enjoy some conch fritters with the family while enjoying the Florida lifestyle. Just across the street you’ll find the famous Mote Marine, and see some of Florida’s aquatic wildlife.
If you’re a history buff, then you have to visit Spanish Point. See a natural Florida and learn about all of its agriculture and iconic history. Spend the day wandering the trails and exploring the beauty. The best part is the ability to see the shell middens, mounds of seashells that local tribes created over the span of 500 years. Each shells inhabitant was eaten and then thrown onto where it lays now, well over a thousand years later. Ask Spanish Point about their summer camp programs, it makes a fun and educational program for your kids.