Mote Marine Laboratory - Sarasota, Florida See sharks, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, and other species of marine life

Mote Marine Laboratory – Sarasota, Florida


Mote Aquarium

At Mote, you can explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable-working labs and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory. See sharks, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life.
In addition to providing a public Aquarium where people can learn more about sea life, Mote also rescues and rehabilitates stranded, injured and sick sea turtles. Mote also has a thriving Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program that has monitored sea turtle nesting since 1982. Our staff and volunteers monitor 35 miles of nesting beaches every day of nesting season between May 1 and October 31. Mote researchers also use satellites to track nesting sea turtles and even some sea turtles that have been rehabilitated at Mote’s hospital. Through these tags, researchers have been able to follow turtles on their seafaring journeys.

Exhibit Facts:

Hang Tough’s new home holds approximately 18,000 gallons of water; it’s teardrop shaped, providing them with access to service the inside and provide care to Hang Tough. The habitat uses mechanical and biological filters. It is also heated and cooled to maintain at 78 to 82-degree F temperature.

Exhibits and Attractions

Narrated Training Sessions with Sharks
Visitors have long watched in awe on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as we feed the fish that live in our Shark Habitat. Now, they offer the opportunity for you to learn even more about these cool animals during our new Narrated Training Sessions. Watch and listen as you learn how and why they train the sharks that live at Mote.

The Training Sessions take place at 11 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These sessions (which are free with admission) are designed to give our visitors more information about how we care for some of the ocean’s top predators and the training methods we use to make sure our sharks are healthy.

In order to take care of our sharks, Mote aquarists actually train the sharks to eat near special targets. Each species of shark is trained to feed at a different type of target.

Dr. Eugenie Clark, Mote’s founding director, was the first scientist to ever document that sharks were capable of learning such tasks. She began training sharks back in the 1950s and was able to demonstrate how adaptable sharks really are. Until Clark told the world about her efforts, sharks were thought of as mindless eating machines.

Today, Mote Aquarists train the sandbar, blacknose and nurse sharks to make sure that each animal gets the proper nutrition. This work also allows caregivers to lead individual sharks into a special area for medical checkups.

Fossil Creek

Mote Aquarium visitors can play marine paleontologist — and take home natural buried treasures of the sea. At our newest attraction, Fossil Creek, you can buy a bucket of sand and sift out hidden fossils using a sieve in a mini waterway. You might find shark’s teeth and stingray tails smoothed with time, ancient gar scales or bony plates from pufferfish mouths. All fossils are real and are yours to keep, along with your sand bucket printed with pictures of different types of shark teeth. It’s a bucketful of fun just in time for Father’s Day. Fossil Creek is located in the Mote Aquarium courtyard behind the Ray Tray. Each bucket of sand is $5.99 plus tax, and contains a unique mix of hidden fossils. Dig in!


Seahorse Conservation Laboratory

They have recently expanded the Seahorse Conservation Laboratory into a larger exhibit space that allows guests to learn even more about these unique fish and how Mote works to conserve them. (Free with admission.)

Morning Rounds

You can learn even more about the animals that live at Mote Aquarium by joining us on Morning Rounds. Up to three guests can spend about 90 minutes meeting several Mote aquarists as they care for our fish and invertebrates. On Morning Rounds, guests will get to help feed the fish, see how we maintain habitats and learn more about how we keep our animals healthy.

Morning Rounds are for guests ages 10 and older. Cost is $40 per person or $35 for Mote Members.

Reservations are required. Morning Rounds guests also receive special discounted admission to Mote Aquarium ($12 for adults and $10 for youths ages 10-12.)

For reservations, please contact the Group Sales Office at (941) 388-4441, ext. 536, or e-mail

Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors

Sea turtles outlived their contemporaries, the dinosaurs, but they need our help against modern threats. The newest exhibit, Sea Turtles: Ancient Survivors, tells all about the traits that helped sea turtles triumph in the past. It also described the trials they face today, such as exploitation for food, loss of nesting beaches and run-ins with fishing gear.
Fittingly, our newest exhibit features Hang Tough, a blind green turtle. Hang Tough is:
A green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Hang Tough came to Mote in 1992 with a serious head wound and a fishing hook in one eye. The head wound severed one of his optical nerves, causing blindness in one eye; the fishing hook injury blinded his other eye.
Though blind, Hang Tough is now thriving in a floor-to-ceiling viewing tank in the new exhibit made possible by Mote Volunteer Penelope Kingman in honor of Barry J. Kingman. Hang Tough is thriving here because of the many hours Mote animal care experts have spent working to make him comfortable with the move.
Because Hang Tough is blind, state officials determined that the turtle would be better off living at Mote rather than being returned to the wild. Having Hang Tough at Mote Aquarium allows us the opportunity to educate visitors about the issues turtles face in the wild.


Mote Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays.


General admission includes access to Mote Aquarium, the Ann and Alfred E. Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center and Immersion Cinema.

Adults (over 12): $17
Seniors (over 65): $16
Youth (4-12): $12
Children (under 4): Admission is free
Mote Members: Free admittance Annual Memberships begin at $50 and include many benefits. Learn more.
Become a Mote Member today.

Eco Boat Tours

The Sarasota Bay Explorers offer a variety of eco boat tours which depart from Mote Aquarium. Click here for more info, including special pricing packages and tour details.


Mote Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236. Just a few minutes from downtown Sarasota by way of the Ringling Causeway, and one mile north of St. Armands Circle. Mote Aquarium is located on City Island.


Take Fruitville Road exit 210 off I-75 west to Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41), turn left. At Gulfstream Avenue turn right and proceed across the Ringling Causeway to St. Armands Circle. Exit the circle at North Boulevard of the Presidents. Proceed one mile to the traffic signal at Ken Thompson Parkway and turn right. Main parking for the aquarium will be on the right. (Parking is free.) Click here for directions from neighboring Florida cities.

More Info

For more information, call 941-388-4441 or e-mail


No special offers or discounts are valid with any other offer or discount. Mote Aquarium issues complimentary passes for many special causes and promotions. These passes expire at the end of the year in which they are issued. Military discounts: All active-duty U.S. Military personnel receive free Aquarium admission. A current ID must be presented to qualify.

Group Visits/Pre-paid Tickets
Parties of 10 or more are invited to take advantage of our group rates with advance reservations. Reservations are required and must be made at least one week in advance.

Children 3 and younger get in free

For more information, to book your group or to purchase 10 or more tickets:
Call 941-388-4441, ext. 536, or toll free at 1-800-691-MOTE ext. 536.
Fax: 941-388-1872.

Mote Aquarium features The Deep Sea Diner
Mancini Diners, Inc. has brought fine food and superior service into Mote Aquarium through the Deep Sea Diner. Exclusively available to visitors and members of Mote Aquarium, the retro ’50s-style diner offers a fun, affordable, family-style menu. For complete diner information, including hours of operation and to view a menu, go to

Special Programs
Mote offers special programs and activities for students through educational classroom and field experiences. Go to or e-mail We also offer packages for children’s Birthday Parties at Mote and Breakfast at Mote for adult groups.

Parking is free.

Wheelchairs and Strollers
Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis free of charge. Strollers are not available.