Get an up close and personal look at the wildlife that calls Sarasota Bay home with Sarasota Bay Explorers!
One thing that is great about Sarasota is being on the water! Being on the water gives us the opportunity to see some amazing wildlife both above and below the water. Last week, I went out with the Sarasota Bay Explorers to check out their most popular excursion called the Sea Life Encounter Cruise. This cruise which lasts about 1 hour and 40 minutes leaves from Mote Marine Aquarium and gives you the chance to see Sarasota Bay from the water as well as take a walking tour of one of the keys in the bay that is only accessible from the water!
First off, I wanted to give you some of the details. The boat which will hold around 48 people departs 3 times daily from Mote Marine Aquarium. The 40-foot pontoon boat is covered, has a bathroom on board and has ice cold drinks and snacks for purchase! The price for the cruise is as follows:
Children (3-12): $25
Children 2 and under: Free
(Cruise and Aquarium)
Children (3-12): $37
Children 2 and under: Free
Children (3-12): $22
Show membership card for a discount!
I chose the earliest cruise at 11 AM because you never know about the weather here in Sarasota in the summer. We boarded the boat and were off to explore what Sarasota Bay had to offer. Our guides were Marine Biologists from Mote Marine Aquarium and were extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, the ecosystem and other facts about the area! We went sightseeing for some dolphins and even saw a Manatee or two on our boat trip out.
We then had the chance to get off the boat and explore an island (key) that is also a state park and is only accessible by boat. We learned about the island and the plants that call Sarasota Bay home. Our guide who is a Mote volunteer knew a ton about the history of the island as well as Sarasota and pointed out some amazing facts about the foliage and how invasive species are really starting to take over the area.
Once we got back on the boat we explored some of the estuary programs in the bay including the bird sanctuaries. We saw plenty of osprey, pelicans, egrets, and ibis and even some of their chicks! We also learned how we can make sure we all do our part to make sure Sarasota Bay is around for many more centuries for our children to be able to see and enjoy.
Lastly, we used a trawl net to round up some of the amazing wildlife beneath the surface of Sarasota Bay! This 16-foot net combs the sea grass and allowed us to bring up some fish, sea horses, crabs and more! The process, which can only be done for educational or research purposes, gave us a great idea of what was really below the water and how active and alive the ecosystem in Sarasota Bay really is!
On our trawl, we gathered up some sea horses, crabs, and even an adult Cow Fish! Check out how vibrant his colors are! I highly recommend sitting in the middle of the boat to get the best views of the fish tanks that hold the sea animals once they are on board!
Overall, Sarasota Bay Explorers are not only educational but also a ton of fun for all ages of your family! Regardless if you just want to sightsee, enjoy a relaxing ride on the water, or have a ton of questions about the ecosystem and the Bay, Sarasota Bay Explorers are there! Sarasota Bay Explorers also offers private charters, kayak trips and more!
To learn more about Sarasota Bay Explorers and to book, make sure you check out their website here!! I hope that I will get the opportunity to go back and check out the other amazing tours that they offer! I also want to thank Sarasota Bay Explorers for inviting OFF On The Go out to see exactly how much fun they were!!!