All About the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

On a Siesta Key vacation, it’s hard to stay indoors. The sun and sand will tempt you to get out and about, but there is plenty more to keep you active. Siesta Key and nearby Sarasota offer many outdoor activities and things to do. For those with a deep appreciation of nature, parks and wildlife centers are a highlight. But to really gain an appreciation for the vast biodiversity found in Florida, one can’t miss the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a favorite local attraction.  


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is Sarasota’s top “living museum,” with over 5,000 species of plants on display. The gardens include two bayfront campuses covering 45 acres. The Downtown Sarasota campus features 15 acres of rainforest, desert, and native Florida plants. The Historic Spanish Point campus, located less than 10 miles south, boasts 30 acres that represent more than 50 percent of the species found in Sarasota County. Visit either campus (or both!) to explore vast collections of bamboo, epiphytes, bromeliads, orchids, meat-eating pitcher plants, and more. 

The Downtown Sarasota campus is the better known of the two and includes many exotic species that thrive in a variety of gardens. Visit the Tropical Conservatory for lush, colorful rainforest displays; stroll along the mangrove walkway for stunning shoreline views; explore the Banyan Grove to get lost among the giant tree roots. This garden is especially child-friendly with a koi pond, butterfly garden, and children’s rainforest garden. Children will be entertained for hours feeding the fish, exploring caves, and running over swinging bridges (all child-friendly, of course). 

koi pond by siesta key
Photo from Shutterstock

In addition to the natural beauty, the downtown campus features the work of local artists. The museum of botany and art showcases nature-related art exhibits. Check out the events calendar to plan your visit accordingly. 

Though a little further from town, the Historic Spanish Point campus is certainly worth a visit. A wide variety of native Florida flora and fauna is present, allowing guests to experience preserved natural ecosystems. Additionally, visitors will encounter an old chapel, packing house, and more – what remains of 19th and 20th century homesteads. These restored buildings provide a glimpse of life in Sarasota County and the citrus business over 100 years ago. Even older still, several archaeological sites of interest have been discovered, dating between 1000 and 4500 years ago. These are exciting discoveries that are expected to produce new insight into the lives of Native Americans. Historic Spanish Point is truly the perfect place to step back in time!


Both campuses are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit the Downtown Sarasota Campus at 1534 Mound Street and the Historic Spanish Point Campus at 337 North Tamiami Trail. If you are interested in seeing a particular exhibit or garden, check online for specific hours and dates. Not all gardens are open to guests during regular operating hours. 

Prices vary between the two campuses. At the downtown campus, adult admission costs $20, youth between the ages of 4 to 17 cost $10, and children 3 and under are free. Costs are the historic campus are $15 for adults, $10 for youth, and free for children 3 and under. 

Where to Stay 

Siesta Key and its stunning beaches are located halfway between both campuses. Neither is more than a 15-minute drive away. For the best views, accommodations, and beach access, consider booking one of our Siesta Key villas. We offer luxury condominiums, including tower and villa units. Accommodations are primarily 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units, conveniently located just 2 miles from Siesta Key Village. Book with us for your best vacation!

Our Location

Crystal Sands Condominiums
6300 Midnight Pass Road
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Toll-Free: 888-419-1446
Local: 941-349-7007

Fax: 941-346-1963

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