Mote Aquarium Wins Best Attraction from

On Oct. 8, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium won best attraction at the first annual Sarasota’s OUT Awards. This celebratory event was hosted by, whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Sarasota by providing business listings, events, articles and blogs that will spotlight related people, places and things.

“Being voted number one by the LGBTQ community is a real honor,” said Sofie Wachtmeister, Marketing Manager at Mote.  “When I was notified that we had won this award, it made me think back to when a lesbian couple reached out to me asking if Mote allowed gay weddings on site. It’s sad to think that in this day and age that they even had to ask. We believe in including everyone.”

Hosts Beneva Fruitville and Felicity Liemont Roxx presented awards to 25 local businesses, supportive nonprofits and people in front of a packed house at the Purple Rhino, a private nonprofit organization that provides a place for fellowship to the LBGTQ community and their supporters. Sarasota Out award winners were selected by popular vote via an open ballot system.

“Sarasota’s OUT Awards first annual event was magical,” said Joshua Beadle, owner of “Mote’s acceptance speech was exceptional. Knowing that we as a community are welcome to be ourselves and celebrate life’s large events and small moments at Mote means so much.”