Tag Archives: children

Siesta Key Crystal Classic – Magic in the Sand

Make your plans now to attend the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Competition.  Get an up-close look as international sculptors compete for prizes on the crystal white sand of the best beach in the US!
There’s a legend that the pure, fine white sand on Siesta Key has magical properties.  Come and see it shaped into ethereal works of art.  Talk to the artists, watch demonstrations, get free sand carving lessons, hear live music and visit vendors stands where you can shop, eat and drink.  There’s fun for children and adults at this 4 day event.
Enjoy the art and support the Mote Marine Sea Turtle Program at this year’s event – November 9-12, 2012.  Get more information at the Crystal Classic website or call the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce at 941-349-3800.  Make sure you use the off site shuttle service for the easiest access.

Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting

A new annual event took Sarasota by storm in it’s inaugural year.  The amazingly successful event was inspired and directed by 2 master sand sculptors – Bill Knight and Brian Wigglesworth.  As experienced sand master sculptors,- unlike any other event directors could – they hit a home run first time up!

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition brought 11 teams of master sand sculptors together to compete for cash prizes.  The proceeds from the first annual event benefited Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.  In addition to the competition, the event included sand sculpting lessons, an amateur competition, live music, a vendor village and other fun family activities.  We were so happy to be there to videotape the entire event.

If you weren’t there for the first year…make sure you don’t miss this year’s event.  And if you don’t live here, plan a trip!

Sarasota Bayfront Island Park

Drive through Sarasota, and you can’t miss our beautiful Bayfront Island Park.  Right on Sarasota Bay, this lively park is surrounded with water.  The winding sidewalks run all along the perimeter of the park and invite you to walk, jog, roller blade, or walk your dog.  In fact, this park is a favorite with local dog owners who often congregate on weekends for some doggy socialization.

With huge grass play areas, picnic tables in the shade, trees made for climbing and plenty of benches and swings, Island Park appeals to all ages.  Children love splashing in the water fountains and birthday parties are frequent in playground area.  It’s located right across 41 from downtown, so this park is convenient.  There’s plenty of parking, so whether you walk, drive, bike or boat to the park, you’re sure to enjoy you time here.

And stop in at the tiki bar at O’Leary’s  for a drink or a meal.  It’s a great place where you can listen to music, enjoy the tropical breeze and watch the boats go by.  Your four legged friends are welcome, too.

Make sure you add Bayfront Island Park to your list of great things to do when you vacation in Sarasota.

Sarasota Florida Fun Family Activities

Sarasota is a splendid destination for your family vacation.  Yes, Sarasota does have some of the most amazing beaches in the US, but it’s not just a beach destination.  When you’re looking for other diversions, you’ll find a variety of family friendly things to do.

Check out Mote Marine Aquarium for a close up look at marine life and current research and conservation programs.  The entire family will enjoy seeing over 100 species of marine life, including sharks, dolphins, manatees, seahorses and sea turtles.

Mote is open every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mote is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy. on City Island, 1 mile north of St. Armand’s Circle.

For the animal lovers, the Big Cat Habitat is a sanctuary for animals right here in Sarasota.  Not just tigers and lions and bears…you can also see coatimundis, a camel, birds, lemurs, tortoises and more.  And don’t miss the Mia the Liger.  Yes, a liger – her mother is a Bengal tiger and father is a lion!

The sanctuary is located at 7101 Palmer Blvd.  The habitat opens at 12:30 five days per week, but the schedule may be changed based on the weather.  So check their event calendar for current activities and prices or call them at (941) 371-6377 for all the details.

Your children will also appreciate some non-structured, imaginative play time.  Make sure you plan to visit the unique Sarasota Children’s Garden and let the kids be kids.  You can’t beat this whimsical spot for family fun.

These are just a few of the family friendly amusements you’ll find when you vacation in Sarasota.

Sarasota Florida International Street Painting Festival

The Avenida de Colores Burns Square Chalk Festival started in 2007 with just 22 adult and student artists.  By 2010, the Sarasota International Street Painting Festival had over 250 street painters attending from all over the world.  And as if the magnificent performance art isn’t enough, the event includes so many family friendly activities: pumpkin carving,  the childrens’ chalk area, almost non-stop bands, great food, magic, street performers.  Add a fashion show and a film festival.   Where else can you have so much fun in Sarasota?

The excitement goes on all day and into the night during the annual 3 day festival.  This is a great event to schedule your Sarasota vacation around.  And unlike most activities that provide this much entertainment, there’s no admission fee!

See the video of Tracy Lee Stum from California who created a 60’X30′ 3-d piece entitled Mousetrap.

There’s sure to be a full roster of exciting events this year.  One addition will be sponsored graffiti artists who will transform dozens of walls in downtown Sarasota into magnificent works of art and compete for prizes.  The 2011 theme is the “Pavement Art through the Ages”.  You can keep track of all of the plans at the Sarasota Chalk Festival website.

So mark your calendar!  Invite your out of town friends.  The 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival is set for November 4th – 6th.  Hope to see you there!

Sarasota Florida Beaches Best Rated in The US

Plunge your bare feet into the pure white sand of Siesta Key beach, and you’ll understand how beach sand can be trademarked: Worlds Finest, Whitest Sand™.   In fact, in the Great International White Sand Challenge, this sand was scientifically proven to be the world’s finest, whitest finest beach sand.  First time visitors are amazed by the temperature of this perfect barefoot beach.  The sand is 99% pure quartz, so regardless of the temperature – this incredibly soft sand never heats up!

You just can’t beat this location for a vacation.  This wide, flat, crystal white beach is truly kid friendly with its gentle gulf waves.  There’s a large shaded pavilion with food, changing rooms and retail shops, a number of picnic areas, tennis courts and a playground.

Dr. Beach ranks beaches using 50 criteria from softness of sand, condition and temperature of the water, slope, currents and sand and water color.  He also considers amenities, lifeguards, cleanliness and competition for resources.  Siesta Key Beach repeatedly ranks in the top 10 and in 2010 was ranked the #2 beach in US by Dr. Beach.

The Travel Channel describes Siesta Key beach sand as “soft and white as sugar” and rates it 5 out of 5 in swimming, sand and child friendliness.   See their article on Siesta Key beach here.

And Siesta Key isn’t the only great beach in Sarasota County you’ll want to visit.  Go diving or look for shark teeth in Venice or enjoy the solitude at Caspersen Beach.  And if you have your best friend along – visit Brohard Paw Park and Dog beach.  You can let your four legged friend off leash to play in the surf.  The park is on the island of Venice at 1600 Harbor Dr. S.

All in all, we locals know how lucky we are to live near these wonderful beaches.  Come on down for a vacation, the water’s fine!

Sarasota Children’s Garden

Tucked into the city of Sarasota is a fanciful two acre garden for children.  Want to cultivate a child’s imagination?  Just set them free in this park under a beautiful shade canopy.  It’s a feast for the eyes with whimsical art, topiary animals and funky buildings.

I last visited during the annual Reading Day event and was delighted with the fun that children of all ages were having.  With sculptures to climb on, a stage for performing, a pirate ship to stimulate creative play and colorful creatures around every corner – this may just the best place in Sarasota for interactive play!

The garden is open 7 days a week from 10-5.  It’s also available for birthday parties and weddings as well as the weekly story time on Thursday mornings.  Make a Wish foundation, All Faith’s Food Bank, and the Humane Society of Sarasota are just a few of the local organizations that benefit from special events Robin holds at The Children’s Garden annually.

The Sarasota Children’s Garden is a non-profit gem located at 1670 10th Way.  The cost per child (under 13) is only $5, for kids over 13 – including adults who may feel like a kid in this fairyland – a day ticket is $10.  Many locals who frequent this amazing playground take advantage of the Family Membership.  It’s just $75.00 for 2 adult cards and 3 guests.  Check out their special events and other details at their website.