This is the Sunshine State, it’s true. But, as the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow taught us, into each life some rain must fall. Be prepared with these fun activities.
Sarasota’s own Bello Nock, the international circus superstar with the mile-high hair, delivers thrills and laughs with his IncrediBello! performances twice daily Tuesdays-Saturdays through July 29 in the Ringling Museum’s Historic Asolo Theater.
Say hello to Snooty, the world’s oldest manatee (officially named so by the Guinness Book of World Records), Tuesdays-Sundays at the South Florida Museum and Parker Aquarium in downtown Bradenton. Better yet, if you’re in town July 22, you can wish him a happy 69th birthday at the museum’s big bash and wildlife festival. It includes wildlife exhibits, games, activities, food trucks, free cookies and juice for the kids, and, of course, a chance to serenade the beloved sea cow.
Get up close and personal—not too close, of course—to some awesome animals at Mote Aquarium’s special exhibit, The Teeth Beneath: The Wild World of Gators, Crocs and Caimans. Narrated training sessions will teach you about how these toothsome creatures differ, behave and survive, and also what to do if you do in fact run into one of them in nature.
Take the ultimate open house at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s behind-the-scenes tours of Ca d’Zan, the circus impresario’s magnificent 56-room Italianate mansion set on Sarasota Bay. Four tour options, each with an additional cost besides museum admission, allow you to marvel at the museum-worthy furnishings and architectural details.
Sarasota has a well-deserved reputation as the cultural capital of Florida, and its wealth of professional theater experiences slows but doesn’t stop over the summer. Florida Studio Theatre is filled all summer with plays and cabaret shows, even an Improv Festival July 13-15 with comedy troupes from across the country; the fall season at the five-theater company typically begins in November. The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is debuting a two-play summer series called Dog Days Theatre July 11-Aug. 27; the regular fall/winter season for Asolo commences Nov. 18 with the musical Evita, running through Dec. 30. Edgier fare is yours at the contemporary Urbanite Theatre. And the award-winning Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is premiering a musical revue, Broadway in Black, through July 23, and offering a full roster of productions beginning in October with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights.
And, as long as you have a parka or umbrella, don’t rule out Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on a rainy day. Unless there’s lightning—then no one should be outdoors—inclement weather intensifies the Gardens’ magical tropical rain forest ambiance.