Sarasota with Kids!

pink flamingoes roam the grounds of the Sarasota Jungle Garden, a great place to visit with kids!
The winding paths in the Sarasota Jungle Gardens give you an opportunity to see the free-roaming flamingos and peacocks as well as 10-acres of lush tropical landscape and palms.


The Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the brainchild of David Breen Lindsay, who bought a swampy banana grove back in the 1930s, is surprisingly close to downtown Sarasota and packs a lot to see and learn within 10 acres of lush tropical gardens.

The winding garden paths breeze past native and exotic plants, reptiles of all sizes (yes, there are alligators), parrots, birds of prey, small mammals, a petting zoo, and free-roaming peacocks and flamingoes!

The alligators are not free-roaming, though!

Admission includes several educational and interactive shows that last about 20 minutes. After the show, you may have a chance to get up close and personal with the animals you learn about during the presentation.

It’s easy to make an afternoon of the gardens. Take your time to enjoy the exhibits, playground, air-conditioned café, and lush landscape with places to enjoy outdoor eating. The size is perfect for revisiting any park area you can’t get enough of.

10 acres of lush tropical gardens, exotic wildlife, playground areas, cafe, and a petting zoo are packed into the grounds at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Several colorful parrots greet visitors at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, a great activity to do with kids when visiting Sarasota, Florida
Colorful parrots greet visitors as they enter the gardens! You can witness their incredible talents during the exotic bird show. Their intelligence and friendliness will amaze you. Stop by after the show to pet or hold these feathered stars.

Educational and Entertainment: Animal Shows at the Park

Be sure to catch one of several presentations given by the knowledgeable staff. Then, stick around after the show to interact with the animals. This is a more intimate experience than a large theme park and the kiddos love it! In fact, they may work up an appetite that can be tamed in the cafe’ or with your own treats.

There are two ways to enjoy lunch at the gardens. Enjoy your own food at the picnic tables outside the park or order from the café and eat either inside the park or out. In other words, no outside food is allowed inside!

Yes, You Can Feed the Animals (watch your fingers!)

American alligators can be viewed at the Sarasota Jungle Garden
The Sarasota Jungle Gardens are home to over 200 native and exotic animals including an impressive reptile exhibit.

Want to feed the animals? You can do that! Animal-appropriate morsels can be purchased where you buy your tickets or at dispensers by the animal exhibits. They prefer you feed the animals at the petting zoo outside the gates. Why? Well, as I found out, bringing out a baggie of treats will cause a minor stampede (my apologies to the little girl in the pink dress who got bumped!) No children were harmed; however, it was a sight to see!

The flamingoes, however, will eat right out of your hands as they roam freely around the beautiful water feature. I found it funny that they posted signs telling guests not to swim in the water. I would never have thought to do that, but I imagine someone has, hence the warning.

That would have been fun to see!

Garden Enthusiasts Will Love the Variety of Exotic and Local Plants and Palms

Florida flamingos gather around the pond at the Jungle Gardens. Guests can feed the birds and they will eat right from the palm of your hand!
The Gardens are one of the oldest continuously running attractions in Florida. If you would like to support the animals, you can “adopt” and animal. Imagine the thrill of bringing a flamingo, python, or pot-bellied pig home…well, at least a picture of the animal (the staff at the Gardens will keep the animal safe and healthy for you!) See the website for details.

Don’t have kiddos? That’s ok! Garden enthusiasts will love this old Florida landmark too. The paths are wide and well-kept so bring your strollers, wheelchairs (available for rent in the gift shop), and good walking shoes. But, keep your pets at home (sorry, Molly). Service animals only (I’m sure you can understand why!).

If you’re in Sarasota for an extended time or a Sarasota local, they offer a zoo camp designed for kids between 6 and 11 years old. Each week of camp has a theme, and there are various dates available in March, June, and July. Go here for the latest details abouKids Camp in Sarasota

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is 10 acres of lush plants both native and exotic

Winding Paths Pass Exotic and Native Animals…and Goats!

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The Gardens are open 363 days a year from 10am – 5pm, and just like many outdoor Florida activities, visiting anytime from October thru May will give you the best weather. Kids under three years old are free to enter (with a big person), and as of this writing, entry prices for children ages 4-12 are $14.99 each, and adults are $21.99.

Resource / When you Go:

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

3701 Bay Shore Road

Sarasota, FL 34234

Website Link

Sarasota Free Gardens

Sarasota Garden Club

1131 Boulevard of the Arts

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1131 Boulevard of the Arts

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