May 30, 2020

A Weekend of Sun & Science in Sarasota.

Clowning around at the Ringling Museum… (All photos by Author).

Science is where you find it. This past weekend we set off for a weekend of adventure in Sarasota, Florida. Just a leisurely drive south of the Tampa Bay area (and Astroguyz HQ), Sarasota offers quick passport to “Old Florida”.

As ever, we had an eye out for the scientifically curious. Fans of this space will remember our tour of Longboat Key from early 2011 in the same area. This time around, we stayed at the excellent Hotel Indigo in downtown Sarasota. This offered an easy access to numerous restaurants and the downtown Sarasota area as well as morning jogging trails to beat the heat. In fact, we were right across the street from the GWIZ Science Museum, which now sports an uber-cool solar system walking trail;

Jogging the solar system…

Our dog Maggie (AKA Astro-lab) accompanied us on this trek, and sampled the Sarasota environs. The Indigo and the shops & restaurants around Sarasota are very pet friendly, a definite plus. Maggie even enjoyed a brief stay at Bayside Pet Resort, a clean and friendly pet boarding spa.

Astro-Lab ready for EVA at the Hotel Indigo.

One of the highlights for me was to see the John & Mabel Ringling Museum of Art. The scale model of the circus alone was truly amazing, and gives you a sense of what a truly enormous undertaking it was to transport and set up the circus stop after stop each and every summer. And yes, we fit into a replica of the clown car! (see above) I wonder how big a telescope that “canon-mobile” could hold?

A future “scope-mobile?”

After an excellent vegetarian lunch at Patrick’s, we hit the Science Museum in nearly Bradenton. This museum is most famously known as the home of Snooty, the oldest Manatee in captivity (64 years old and counting) and the Bishop Planetarium. The Bishop offers multiple shows daily as well as Jeff Rodger’s monthly star talk entitled Stelliferous Live.

The Science Museum in Bradenton, Florida.

We were also fascinated by the exhibit of pre-colonial artifacts found in Florida that were on display at the museum. Gold and copper -smithing had achieved a higher status in early Florida than we would’ve guessed; it reminded us of a theory we’d heard in our travels that perhaps the Maya had made their way over to the Florida peninsula…

The children’s hands-on work-shop at the Bradenton Science Center.

But all too quickly, our tour of Sarasota came to an end. Maggie also had a chance to check out many of Sarasota’s dog friendly parks, both on and off leash. And although it seemed to be hotter than Venus at high noon, there were plenty of cool off stops along the way… we would suggest pie and ice cream at Yoder’s to achieve maximum frigidity. If you’re in central Florida, do check out Sarasota; the Ringling museum alone is a must see, and we would suggest staying a while for some excellent Gulf sunset dining. Pack the kids, bring the dog, and get ready for year-round fun!



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