Family Weekend Fun in Venice, North Port, and Sarasota, Florida

One of the many benefits of living in bountiful Southwest Florida means that there’s a seemingly endless list of things for families to do on the weekends! Although we’re just a quick drive from the water, what if we told you there’s a whole trove of things to do and places to see that go beyond the waterside scene around Wellen Park? 

Here are 10 creative ways to have some fun in Venice, North Port, and Sarasota with your entire family.

Two overjoyed children feed flamingos at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Photo via @sarasotajunglegardens

A Waterside Weekend

Here in Southwest Florida we love kayaking, and fortunately Wellen Park is surrounded by so many great places to paddle! With options ranging from Gulf shore inlets to calm meandering rivers, you’re sure to find the perfect spot.

If you have little ones, they’ll love the children’s splash fountain located at the nearby Centennial Park! Let them explore the interactive water spouts and enjoy this classic way to stay cool on a hot Florida day.

Continue the fun with Sharky’s on the Pier, a Venice classic that the entire family is sure to love! Between fishing, dining, shark tooth collecting, and strolling down the pier, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Or, bring your family to Peace River in Arcadia and take a tour of the habitats that make Florida so unique. Peace River Charters offers several tour options, including rides on airboats, swamp buggies, and more. Don’t forget to look out for gators! 

Learn about the fascinating lives of fish, sharks, and other species of native marine life at MOTE Marine Lab & Aquarium.

Education and Recreation

Do you have a little one who’s curious about marine life? They’ll love MOTE Marine Lab and Aquarium in Sarasota, where children (and adults!) can learn about oceans, reefs, and the animals that inhabit them. As an added bonus, their organization even hosts programs and experiences for all age groups!

Looking to learn about animals on land instead? Both entertaining and educational, families that tour Dakin Dairy Farm in Myakka City will learn about where milk comes from, as well as all their favorite farm animals.

Take a short trip north and visit Sarasota Jungle Gardens, whose main mission is to inspire young minds through experiences with 200+ native and exotic animals. It’s the perfect destination for curious kids.

A curious child studies plants with a magnifying glass in the Children’s Rainforest Garden. Photo via @selbygardens

Just for the Fun of It

For a laid-back day of exploration, visit our neighbors at Shamrock Park where little ones will enjoy playgrounds, butterfly gardens, and an educational Nature Center.

For a completely different change of pace, head to Sarasota where your family can let out their daring side at Sky Zone. The indoor park houses more than 20 different attractions tailored for every age and skill level.

Selby Gardens is one of our all-time favorites and is widely known for its bayfront botanical gardens. While you’re visiting, a major must-see for parents and kids alike is their gorgeous Children’s Rainforest Garden.

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Find Your Way


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