Mote offers a variety of family-friendly programs that are sure to delight all ages! Each program is a fun opportunity to learn about our local estuary and connect to nature. We ask that you carefully read each program's description so you can plan accordingly. Most Family Programs involve spending time outside, and for some, that also means getting into the water. We want everyone joining us to be comfortable and prepared so they can have fun and make the most of the program.

Note: These are NOT drop-off programs, adults must regsiter and attend. All participants (ages 3 and up, including adults) must be registered. See each program description for additional details. Please review your confirmation email for the meeting time and location of each program.

Sharks After Dark

Join us for Mote’s newest family night of fins and fun! It will be a jaw-some time as our professional educators and shark enthusiasts explore the question “What do sharks, stingrays and other marine creatures do when the sun goes down?!” During this interactive program, participants will enjoy a shark-cuterie style spread of snacks while they hear stories about nocturnal species in our local waters, watch some evening feedings, and find out what the sharks are up to after hours in Mote Aquarium. You’ve heard of night owls, now get ready for an evening of elasmobranchs!

Who: All ages  
Fee: $40.50 for members, $45 for non-members (ages 3 and under are free)
When: Thursday, March 21, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. 

Sharks After Dark does not include general admission to the Goldstein Marine Mammal Center. Please note that we cannot accommodate special dietary restrictions. For questions about Sharks After Dark or any other Mote Education programs, please email or call 941-388-4441 ext. 348.

IMPORTANT: All participants, including adults, who are over 3 years of age must register. Advanced reservations are required. All participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paid adult participant. There is no swimming, diving, or hands-on contact with our sharks during this program. Pricing, schedule, and availability subject to change. There are no refunds for this Mote Education program unless Mote cancels the program. Please see your registration confirmation email for additional details about the program. Unfortunately, we are unable to fulfill requests made for gluten-free, vegan, or other dietary requirements. Please also note that we cannot guarantee nut-free products in the food offered.

Sharks After Dark

Dip Netting in the Bay

Splash into Sarasota Bay! Join Mote for some fun outdoor exploration. Participants will use dip nets to explore the nearshore seagrass beds and learn about the plants and animals that call the Bay home. Please read the details listed below to best prepare yourself for this experience. Click the button below to view available dates and times. 

Who: All ages (ALL participants, adults or children, must register)
Fee: $15.00 per person
When: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

  • March 9
  • April 6
  • May 25

Pre-registration for all participants (including parents/guardians) is required. Fee is per participant, ages 3 and older. Dip Netting in the Bay does not include general admission to Mote Marine Laboratory. Guests who wish to tour the aquarium exhibits will need to purchase general admission tickets. Visit for more information. 

Note: This is an outdoor program and participants will wade in water up to waist deep. At least one paying adult chaperone is required for every 2 youth participants. All adults/guardians in attendance must be registered. Find out what to wear and bring here

Dip Netting at Mote

Seashore SEAfari

Mote Education is excited to offer Seashore SEAfaris at three locations! 

Join Mote’s professional educators on one of three different family-friendly guided tours to explore the unique flora and fauna of City Island, Lido Beach and/or Anna Maria Island. Families will put on their adventure hats and use science tools to identify plants and animals, test water quality and complete a seashore scavenger hunt while learning about the breakthrough research happening at Mote. 

Who: All ages  (ALL participants, adults or children, must register)
Fee: $15.00 per person
When: See dates & locations below

Note: This is an outdoor program (not water-based) that involves walking on sidewalks, boardwalks, and/or sand. Pre-registration is required. At least one paying adult chaperone is required for every 4 youth participants. All adults/guardians in attendance must be registered. Please review the location before registering for your adventure!

Seashore Seafari: City Island 

Explore a Florida mangrove forest lining beautiful Sarasota Bay! Participants will learn all about mangroves including how to identify them, the animals that call them home and why they are important. We will stroll through the mangroves and make our way to the bay to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in Sarasota.
Note: This Seashore SEAfari takes place at our main campus (Mote Aquarium) on City Island. Aquarium admission is NOT included.

Location: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, Florida 34236
When: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

  • December 26
  • December 30 
  • March 17 
  • April 21
  • May 19

SEAfari at City Island

Seashore Seafari: Lido Beach

Discover one of Florida’s most iconic and pristine beaches, Lido Beach. Participants will join us for some beachcombing and bird watching as we explore the seasonal migrations of animals and natural history of this important barrier island.
Note: This Seashore SEAfari takes place at Lido Beach (approximately 2.5 miles from Mote Aquarium). Aquarium admission is NOT included.

Location: Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach, 2201 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, Florida, 34234
When: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

  • 2024 dates coming soon!

SEAfari at Lido Beach

Seashore Seafari: Anna Maria Island

Get the insider scoop on Mote research at Mote Marine Laboratory’s newest satellite campus at the Anna Maria Island City Pier.  After a guided tour of Mote’s Marine Science Education and Outreach Center, participants will take a stroll down the pier and the beach to learn about the local flora and fauna and be introduced to the rich history of Anna Maria Island.
Note: This Seashore SEAfari takes place on Anna Maria Island (approximately 18 miles from Mote Aquarium). Aquarium admission is NOT included however admission to the Mote Marine Science Education and Outreach Center is free.

Location: Anna Maria City Pier, 100 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria 34217, FL
When: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

  • March 20
  • May 15

SEAfari at Anna Maria

Please Note: Pre-registration is required. Mote Aquarium admission is NOT included. Please visit for information and to reserve tickets.

Mote reserves the right to update or modify any program elements as necessary. Modification of a program element by Mote does not constitute grounds for a refund. 

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Weather and Cancellation Policy

To ensure the safety of our participants, programs may be canceled in cases of inclement weather, including rain or adverse marine conditions such as high winds, or other environmental factors (i.e. Red Tide). For water-based programs (Dip Netting), if air temperatures fall below 60 degrees, we will cancel the program. In the event of a weather-related or other cancellation, you will be notified via email the evening before. Be sure to check the email you registered with prior to your program. A copy of our complete Cancellation Policy is available here and is also linked in your registration confirmation email.

Prohibited Items/Activities

The following items are not permitted on Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium grounds for the safety of our animals and guests: weapons or firearms per Florida Statutes Section 790.06(12) {firearms are not allowed at events with alcohol provisions}, or any hazardous items or materials, balloons, plastic straws, food and beverages not provided by approved vendors (water and baby food/formula is allowed), or any other items deemed to be a safety hazard or that may be used to engage in prohibited activities.  Smoking and vaping is also prohibited.