Our Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Experience
Recently we took an amazing, multigenerational family trip to Sarasota Florida. We chose this destination because this town has such a chilled out peaceful vibe to it and is filled with fascinating culture and art that I thought it would be the perfect place for my littles to get some grandparent time mixed in with some fun adventures!
One of the best activities we did while there was a visit to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a living museum with the coolest rainforest children’s play area I have ever seen and is focused on the research and conservation of epiphytes (which are plants that grow on other plants). There is a lot of learning to be done, gorgeous flowers and views of Sarasota Bay and is perfect for a multigenerational group as there really is something for every age to enjoy.
Our Marie Selby Botanical Garden Experience
We arrived at about 10am on a Saturday. I used google maps to navigate there and found the parking easy enough. It was just a short walk down a really pretty lane to get to the entrance of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
There is a cute gift shop and a front desk where you get your tickets. Don’t forget to grab a map to help you find your way around and be sure to purchase some fish food for a dollar – both can be found to your left as you enter the greenhouse.
We entered and felt like we had been transported into a place of incredible beauty. The flowers and displays in here are incredible. There are very knowledgeable staff around to answer any of your questions – we had plenty and everyone was incredibly kind to us, taking the time to answer everything. We had so much fun looking at all of the new to us flowers and intricate displays with waterfalls and statues. Here are a few photos:
Once on the other side, we went to the right to go check out the historic house and Marc Chagall’s art exhibit. There are paths everywhere (remember when I told you to grab a map… I wasn’t kidding you will need it!) gorgeously landscaped leading to incredible views and neat little spots. To the right walks you along the Sarasota Bay over to their amphitheater (see that schedule here, I wish we had time to catch a show as it looks awesome, next time for sure!) which is in front a little lake where we saw some incredible wildlife. Check it out:
This is also where the historic house is, home to various art exhibits. Currently, they are showing Marc Chablot’s, we had fun learning about his life and admiring his art work. Additionally, they have quotes of his on signs all throughout the gardens so it is fun to get to know him a little. It definitely added to the experience when wandering around Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Next we followed the path through some cool mangroves and over a fun catwalk. There were loads of great photo opps as well as informative signs telling you what everything is. Eventually we came to a tree house section that made my littles eyes pop out of their heads! There were rock paths to climb, rope bridges to cross, musical instruments for everyone to play, a hut set up to be like that of an explorer, a giant waterfall and tents each with a different theme for the kids to play in. They also had a fun tire swing and let’s not forget Mama’s favorite – The Hugging Tree!
We played here for quite a while – there was so much to see and do. Then we found out that the place to feed the fish was right around the corner and off we raced! There were huge fish there that came right out of the water to eat, it was really neat! Of course mine were putting so much food in, the fish were going crazy and totally splashed us, it was super fun!
By this point we had covered it all. After a quick stop into the gift shop (they have some incredible hand painted cards and art there), we were on our way to the next adventure!
What To Wear and Bring to Visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Sarasota is always warm and nicely tempered. However the gardens can be cool and there was a nice breeze coming off of the bay when we were there, which I am sure is normal. So we went with layers. The girls went with skirts, tank tops and sweaters; boys with shorts, t-shirts and sweaters. The kids did not wind up wanting their sweaters, but I put mine on a few times!!
Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking to be done. Make sure to use some sunscreen and bring a hat for some shade.
Bring some water, your camera, your smile and be ready for a super excellent day!
Next time, we are totally going to catch a show here. This place is a hidden gem for families that are traveling and should be high on your list when you visit Sarasota!
Cheers and safe travels!
Malibu Mama Loves Xx