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“Boat ride through the gulf”

Sarasota Bay Explorers
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Attraction details
Owner description: Looking for an exciting, hands-on, educational and FUN experience on the water? We've got it! We are located in beautiful Sarasota, Florida and work in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory to provide interactive marine science boat trips for both public and private use. We offer several types of eco-tours including our renowned Sea Life Encounter Cruise, Guided Kayak Tours, Nature Safari and private charters aboard the Miss Explorer. In addition to our regular cruises, you may charter a trip on one of our 40-foot pontoon boats for a private group. Private charters are available for anything from school field trips to company outings to birthday parties
Pekin, Indiana, United States
Level 6 Contributor
157 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Boat ride through the gulf”
Reviewed 28 July 2013

We purchased a aquarium/bay explorers combo ticket. We got to see Dolphins swimming, and the naturalist pulled some of the wildlife out of the bay in a net to show what was in the bay. They also take you by a tiny island loaded with sea birds. It was informative, interesting and fun. Kids would be oaky with this, I think. I really enjoyed it.

Visited February 2013
Thank Shawna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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76 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Excellent Tour”
Reviewed 3 June 2013

We did the Sea Life Encounter Cruise, and it was excellent. We had biologist Keeli and Mote volunteer Dave (the Parrothead), and both were very knowledgeable and helpful. They were also great with the small children (of whom we had several) as well as the older kids. I sympathize with earlier reviewers who didn't see as much as they liked, but that's not a reason to give the tour a poor rating--as one reviewer acknowledged, they can't predict what will show up. We saw no manatees, but did see dolphins. The rookery visit was worth the price by itself! On the way back, we dredged for sealife (they have an educational permit to do this, so it's something that you can't always get on a tour of this sort), and we got a great variety, including a transparent jelly and two seahorses!

We'll definitely go again when we have our grandchildren along.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Karen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Valley City, North Dakota
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“was excited but disappointed. Children under 8 not recommended!”
Reviewed 15 May 2013

While I did not have children on this tour, several people did, and the tour conductors were very accomodating to the youngsters (an emergency diaper change caused a delay that infuriated the crew). the kids 8 and older had an enjoyable time; the younger kids were bored easily due to the lack of animal sightings.
for the cost of this outing, I think I would try a different boat tour. We did see a few dolphins but they were at a distance. The stop at an uninhabited island was a walk of about 50 feet into some trees, so we did not really explore anything. Part of the tour was conducted by a volunteer, who was very nice but you could tell he wasn't paid to do his job. The biologist conducting most of the tour was knowledgable but not overly friendly, and she did have plenty of segments on the wealthy housing district along the water (previous reviews were accurate).
the upside of this tour: they have special access to use a net to drag along the ocean floor. they picked up several items such as crab, starfish, fish, and large shells. this part was fascinating but could have been seen at an aquarium just as easily as on the boat.

Visited May 2013
4 Thank Heather S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A great marine experience”
Reviewed 28 March 2013

I decided to take this tour on a recommendation, but was a bit leery with a few of the reviews stating how poor the biologist information was, but figured that being a former biology major I could get by. I was pleasantly surprised as our Biologist Lauren was excellent and did a wonderful job relaying relevant information to every education level from the kids to the adults. The weather was cold and breezy but the experience seeing the birds and the sealife caught in the next was something I would do again. But I would pick a warmer day if I was to do it again.

Visited March 2013
3 Thank bl78ljb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“Really disappointing...especially from the folks at Mote.”
Reviewed 12 March 2013

This trip was a major letdown. The first hour was more of a "lifestyle of the rich and famous" tour. I suppose some folks have a burning desire to hear about rich people that own property they hardly ever visit on Bird Key...but Mote should let you know this is the focus so that you don't assume a research aquarium would lead a nature focused tour. The stop for a "hike" on the small deserted island was also a joke. You're on land for maybe 10 minutes and you really can't hike anywhere. The bird rookery and dredge for marine life were the only redeeming parts of the trip. For the price, they should really be able to make this a more memorable experience. Definitely something to avoid.

3 Thank terrapinproud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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