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Attraction: Mote Aquarium, Longboat Key, FL
As far as stacking up to some of the larger aquariums such as Chicago’s Shedd, or News Orleans’ Aquarium of the Americas it falls short. But for what it is, it is pretty nice. They operate on a small budget and do what they can. It is very clean and up kept. The staff was made up of quite a few retired seniors who were extremely pleasant and knowledgeable and obviously took pride in their aquarium, and rightfully so.
Exhibits included a shark tank, impressive jellyfish tanks, dolphins, mantees, sea turtles and many various reef tanks. Our favorite being the seahorse breeding center. Nora and Sharon did get to pet a stingray which was pretty neat. Not to be dismissed is the dolphin rescue area, as it is a huge asset to the area.
We did not get to see the movies they play in their new theater but the setup was pretty nice. Something for next time as I am sure we will end up back there someday as Nora loves her aquariums.
In addition to the aquarium there was a bird rescue facility loaded with eagles, owls and many other large birds that encountered problems in the wild that required them to need rehabilitation. Seeing such large and majestic birds so close up is always exciting.
There is a large playground and picnic area on the property right along the water which makes a perfect spot for kids to get out some energy before getting back into a car for the drive home.