"~ Lido Key, St. Armond's Key, & the Mote ~" Lido Key by HSC123

Lido Key Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 2 photos

Across the Ringling Causeway from Downtown Sarasota lie the islands of Lido and St. Armond’s Keys. These barely separated islands are not only an exclusive address, but they are also known for three of Sarasota’s top attractions: Lido Beach, St. Armond’s Circle, and the Mote Marine Aquarium. We actually did not make it over to Lido Beach during our visit. (We were staying near the beaches of nearby Siesta Key, and we did not have a lot of great beach weather during our visit.) Nevertheless, we did get to enjoy visiting St. Armond’s Circle and the Mote.

St. Armond's Circle

Given its outdoor orientation, pedestrian vibe, and diversity of wares, St. Armond’s Circle is an appealing diversion even to people opposed to traditional mall shopping. As the name suggests, St. Armond’s Circle is actually a large traffic circle surrounding a circular park. While the park is green and dense with trees, the circle’s perimeter and side streets are lined with unique stores, boutiques, and eateries. Throughout the day St. Armond’s Circle buzzes with pedestrians on a quest for fashionable clothes, works of art, Sarasota souvenirs, and interesting trinkets. (I bought a pewter sea turtle here). There is even a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop here (at least there was in 2001) for those in search of something cool but edible. My wife and I also took a dusk drive around the circle and over the causeway into Downtown, a simple pleasure that was both fun and beautiful.

Mote Marine Aquarium

At the north end of Lido Key, City Island is the home of the Mote Marine Aquarium. While smaller than the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, the Mote’s greatest asset is its sea turtle rehabilitation program. Here, visitors can look face-to-face into the eyes of injured sea turtles housed in special tanks for rehabilitation. There are also other aquariums displaying various sea life, including a particularly unusual collection of translucent jellyfish. Further exploration of the Mote yields a squid hatchery and a touch tank full of starfish, urchins, and other species of tactile interest.

Together, St. Armond’s and the Mote offer enough to keep visitors busy for the better part of a day.

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  • Last visit to Lido Key: Dec 2000
  • Intro Updated May 25, 2010
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