Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota, Florida

Have you been to the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida? This large animal rescue organization provides a home for tigers, lions, monkeys and other exotic animals in need. I got a chance to visit this amazing organization with Clayton Rosaire. His mom, Kay, founded the place in 1987 and has been a cat-mom for years, educating the public on conservation and animal care. Now Clayton is leading the charge and it's truly impressive.

Please note that there's a real liger. This animal is rare and probably one of the largest animals I've ever actually seen up close. HOLY HECK he's big. His mom was a tiger and his dad was a lion. They generally are born in captivity because hey, roommates get real close.

We get up close with some of the residents ourselves and really far away from other ones. Watch to see what happens. Also, if you feel like contributing to this amazing organization. Click here. 

Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

I used to live in Sarasota and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places to wander.  Named for Marie Selby who lived on the property with her husband, William, for over 50 years.  She loved nature and when she passed in 1971, she left her home and gardens to the community "for the enjoyment of the general public." 

Selby Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes.  They research, study, display, and conserve these plants that live on other plants.  Like air plants, they don't harm the host plant but rather just hang around as pals.  Some of the best examples are orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads.  (Say that three times fast!)

It's a place of research and the scientific staff here have discovered more than 2,000 plant species. The collections on property include an herbarium of more than 110,000 dried and pressed specimens and over 30,000 preserved in fluids with some of the rarest dating back to the 1700s. 

If you're in Sarasota, take a couple hours to visit Selby Gardens.  The LIVE video below takes you on a walking tour through this living museum and shows the unique Warhol: Flower in the Factory works all over the property.  The exhibit is open from February to June 30, 2018 and "explores the surprising, and little known, role of nature in Warhol's art and life."

Mote Marine Aquarium: Sarasota, Florida

Headed over to the Gulf Coast to visit family in Sarasota and make it a point to visit Mote Marine Aquarium. If you haven't visited, then you're really missing out on a special experience. The manatees, otters, seahorses, and sharks are always my favorite tanks. This time the jellyfish captured my heart. The little umbrella jellyfish looks like a tiny illuminated parasol. 

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For a visit or more information you can click here. Definitely consider a special experience at Mote or even adopt a shark or other sea creature while you're there. 

A Walk Through Downtown Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida is a sleepy fishing town turned tourist destination, made famous by powdery white quartz sand, crystal turquoise water, and the Ringling Brothers Circus. When the circus came to town, everything changed. Cottages were built, businesses opened, and the arts were celebrated.

Take a walk with me through downtown Sarasota. Things have changed so much already that this visit is like a nostalgic look back at 2017 in SRQ.