The Mote Marine Aquarium is a spectacle of inspiring wildlife and human practices in conservation. It is our responsibility to do what we can to protect the many creatures of the sea and bay. The Mote Aquarium recognizes the importance of this and gives us a chance to see how it is done and what we can do to help. Through it all, we get to see some phenomenal sea creatures.
From the adorable, tiny seahorses to the massive, graceful sharks, the aquarium is a testament to the magical world underneath the surface of the water. It is also one of the most rewarding kid-friendly things to do on Anna Maria Island on a vacation escape.
The Mote Marine Laboratory
The aquarium is the result of the tireless work of the Mote Marine Laboratory. It was founded in 1955 and has remained an Anna Maria Island project ever since.
Mote Aquarium stresses the significance of public outreach and community. For decades, the team has cultivated a distinct local presence but has also helped in promoting local conservation and love for the ocean. The team could be seen as guardians of the sea, but they would likely argue otherwise. They consider themselves “scientists, explorers and stewards of the ocean.”
The Creatures of the Aquarium
So, what can you find swimming and gliding just beyond the glass? The aquarium has a whole line-up of creatures to observe, making it one of the top kid-friendly things to do on Anna Maria Island.
It is currently home to a prized 135,000-gallon shark habitat. In it, you can spot a range of shark species, with a special focus on research. For example, you can learn why sharks and rays rarely get cancer and why their presence is absolutely essential to the oceans. You can also learn about shark repellant and how sharks learn. The shark tank is also home to some special Florida species, including the absurd and bizarre Goliath grouper fish.
Special narrated education sessions take place at 11 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Manatees and Turtles
You can also stop on by and see some of the aquarium’s most-loved residents. This includes two manatees, Hugh and Buffett, as well as their shell-laden friends, Hang Tough, Montego, and Squirt 2 – sea turtles rescued from Gulf waters.
The manatees at Mote Marine Aquarium are worth the visit alone and draw many thousands of visitors each year. Huge and Buffet have been at Mote since 1996 and serve as ambassadors for their species to raise awareness and participate in special research projects.
Research and Study
The team does more than help conserve wildlife; they are also a hub for innovative new research.
Their research includes the study of cancer using marine model behaviors, as well as the effects of toxins in the water. They’re also working on a project investigating the stability and health of wild fisheries and how fish restocking techniques can be improved to help the local ecology.
The aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, who have rigorous standards, demanding from their members the proper care of animals in their facility, and engagement in conservation efforts. The Mote Aquarium and Laboratory meets all professional standards in care, research, and conservation.
The aquarium is only one end result of the tireless work of a group of dedicated professional scientists. But, every day, teams are out there on the water collecting data and behind computer desks reviewing models to find answers to the many problems of today. Support conservation by visiting the area’s most accomplished and incredible marine aquarium.
The aquarium is open seven days a week year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults (13 and up). Kids and youth ages 3 to 12 are $16, and under 3 get in free. You can also consider becoming a member for additional perks and savings, and to contribute to the hard work and dedication of the team at the Mote Research Laboratory and Aquarium.
The official address is 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL. Stop by Mote Aquarium to learn about underwater creatures, from the small and secretive to the big and bold. To learn more about the local wildlife or to find a place to stay so you can see it all, reach out to us today.