Sometimes you just want to stay indoors. When Florida’s humidity yields to the eventual thunderstorm, or if too many days in the sun have turned your skin a shade of red, it’s great to know where to take refuge. But don’t get “stuck” inside—have some fun!
Tour a Historic Home
At The Ringling, tour the splendor of the 1920s within Ca’ d’Zan, the home that once belonged to John and Mable Ringling. The decadent furnishings and masterful works of art throughout the building present a view of the fabulously wealthy in the early part of the 20th century.
Explore the Aquarium
Visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to see a large assortment of wildlife that swim beneath the surface of the water and even some of the animals that share the land with us. Here’s your chance to see manatees and otters, as well as reef fish, sharks and turtles. The aquarium offers interactive exhibits including the opportunity to pet a starfish and maybe even an inquisitive stingray.
Take in the Theater
A thriving performing arts culture can be witnessed at any one of the area’s theaters. Many consider the intimate Historic Asolo Theater to have some of the best theatrical productions in the nation. At the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, catch comedy acts, Broadway hits or dance performances such as Riverdance and Swan Lake. Small community theaters including the new Urbanite Theater, which promotes local acting talent and emerging playwrights, and The Players Centre for Performing Arts, which offers both classic and new, cutting-edge plays, are great locations to catch a show.
Pop inside a cute little boutique store (Anna Maria Island, for example, has several) when that typical afternoon rain shower begins. Pick from artsy galleries filled with handmade treasures to Mom & Pop shops with beach-themed décor for the home. You’re sure to find a unique souvenir of your vacation at any one of these stores. For extended shopping, head to St. Armands Circle, an open-air shopping and dining complex arranged in four quadrants surrounding a beautiful circular park area. Here you can browse through merchandise from higher-end brands including Tommy Bahama. Lilly Pulitzer, and Everything But Water. Be sure to also visit the recently built Mall at University Town Center, where you’ll find over 100 stores including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s. The businesses at both St. Armands Circle and the Mall at University Town Center can assist you in finding a bathing suit that fits perfectly, casual resort wear, or a dressy ensemble for a date night with your sweetheart.
Those in search of a great deal should visit the Premium Outlets in Ellenton. Perhaps you’re in need of some new sunglasses to protect your eyes from the Florida sun or maybe your suitcase came out of baggage claim at the airport missing a wheel. A visit to retailers such as Sunglass Hut and Travelpro can help you replenish these necessities at a reasonable price. While you’re there, stop in other stores including Movado, Kenneth Cole, Carter’s or Under Armour for whatever else catches your eye. As they say, retail therapy is always good for the soul!
Listen to Some Music
Whether your preference is for the symphony, an opera, or a local band, there are many places where your taste in music can be accommodated. In addition to theatrical shows, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has a diverse musical lineup in 2017, including Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Hungary’s violin virtuoso, Zoltán Mága. Performances at Sarasota Opera continually dazzle audiences with the cast’s beautiful voices and the theater’s stunning sets. Tickets are available for their 2017 season, when the cast and orchestra will perform works from Rossini and Puccini. Sarasota Orchestra has mastered a brilliant sound to present spectacular concerts. Their performances include modern pops, classics from Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Dvorák, and concerts with themes such as romance or fairy tales.
Create Glass Art
A favorite and relatively undiscovered activity can be found at the Sarasota School of Glass. Both novices and experienced artists will love creating their very own works of art to take home. Choose classes that focus on creating specific items such as bowls and jewelry, or take a class that addresses glass art techniques. Class times vary, so check their online calendar of events or schedule a one-on-one session that adapts to your schedule.
Experience the Circus
Sarasota is the circus capital of the world! The Circus Arts Conservatory has performances at select times throughout the year that will amaze and entertain. Plus, you can actually swing from a trapeze or try your hand (and body) at aerial silks. Introductory classes are available for those who are interested in these death-defying feats! However, plan ahead to make sure classes are being conducted when you’re in town. Visit their website to see when you can take your first step towards being an aerial performer.
Art, cars and history are just a few subjects that can be explored inside the museums in this region. The Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy has been called a “magical experience” by those who have spent the day there exploring fun and creative art. A visit to the Art Center Sarasota will introduce patrons to art made in various mediums. Exhibits change often and feature juried shows that showcase many fine pieces. And don’t forget the Museum of Art and Circus Museum at The Ringling! Their unique collections will enthrall visitors young and old.
Cruise in Comfort
Perhaps it’s not a classic example of an indoor activity, but a cruise is something you can enjoy all year ’round. Spend some time on the water in air-conditioned comfort while aboard a yacht. Some of the local companies offer lunch and dinner cruises and sightseeing tours that are narrated by knowledgeable locals. These cruises are a great way to quench your desire for entertainment on the gulf in any season!
Sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your hotel room when you’re surrounded by your loved ones. Plan ahead and bring a board game the whole family can play, work on an arts and crafts project, tell or read stories and simply enjoy each other’s company. Then, take out your Sunny Day Guide to plan your family’s activities for the next day!