Lido is where pelicans, cranes, ospreys, and eagles are always active and otters, dolphins, and manatees can often be seen nearby!
With Lido’s housing communities, 5-star hotels, luxurious resorts, and delightful restaurants, Lido Key would appear to be one the friendliest, most civilized spots you’ll ever visit. Yet Lido is also a spot where pelicans, cranes, ospreys, and eagles are almost always active, and otters, dolphins, and manatees can often be seen nearby. You can check out the more primitive side of Lido Key by taking a Nature Safari tour with the Sarasota Bay Explorers, based at Lido Key’s Mote Aquarium.
The Nature Safari “eco-tour” provides those who take it with an exhaustive look at the fascinating ecosystem of Lido Key. You’re accompanied by a Coast Guard-certified captain and a Mote Marine biologist/guide who narrates every tour and answers your questions. You’ll first cruise to Lido Beach for a stroll along the shoreline and grass trails. Your guide will show you a variety of Florida animal species and plant life, and you’ll visit Lido Key’s wetlands, grasslands, and thick mangrove forests. Then you’ll re-board the covered and comfortable Nature Safari boat and head out to a sandbar. There you’ll find shells, crabs, starfish, sand dollars, and occasionally seahorses. Nets and wading boots are provided.
As you return to the Mote Aquarium, your biologist/guide will explain in detail the marine life samples that have been collected. It’s a fabulous, fun learning experience for nature-lovers of (almost) all ages. You’ll need sun protection, and you’ll want to bring a camera. There’s a bit of physical exertion, so the Nature Safari is not recommended for the handicapped or very elderly, for anyone currently on prescription medication, or for children under age 6.
While you’re there, why not also visit Mote Aquarium? Mote Aquarium and the Sarasota Bay Explorers offer several packages that include both the Aquarium and the Nature Safari. A number of cruises are offered throughout the day, weather permitting. In addition to the Nature Safari, the Explorers also offer a Sea Life Encounter Cruise and a Guided Kayak Tour. Charters are available too, and they’re hugely popular. The Nature Safari is $45.00 for adults and $40.00 for children ages 6-12. Reservations and a 30-minute check-in are required. Mote Aquarium is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the year, and it’s located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, on the northeast tip of Lido Key.