Welcome to Florida (WTF) Videos
Episode 1: Art Ovation Hotel
The Art Ovation Hotel is the heart of the Sarasota art experience. This hotel features a rooftop pool and bar with city views as well as a restaurant open to the public. Guests staying in the hotel can find sketchbooks, colored pencils, and a ukulele in their rooms. The Artist’s Studio features work by local artists and the entire hotel is filled with beautiful artwork and gorgeous sculptures. Located in the Downtown area, this hotel is walking distance from fine dining, shopping, and everything Sarasota has to offer.
Episode 2: Bayfront Park & Marina
Located nearby the Ringling Bridge, right in the heart of Downtown Sarasota, Bayfront park includes O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, Marina Jack, and the famous Unconditional Surrender Statue. This park provides views of the bay and boats anchored to the shore. Bayfront Park includes a canoe launch, playground, equipment rentals, and is pet friendly.
Episode 3: UTC Mall
Located near I-75 and University Parkway in Sarasota County, The Mall at UTC is a higher-end shopping mall with over 150 stores. Opening its doors in 2014, this newer mall features stores such as Saks Fifth Ave, Louis Vuitton, and Tesla. If you are looking for somewhere to eat, UTC offers over 20 dining options including the Cheesecake Factory, Seasons 52, and The Capital Grille. There are many special events at UTC and this is a very popular area during the holidays.
Episode 4: Nathan Benderson Park
Nathan Benderson Park is a 600-acre community park and is open to the public. The walking trail circles 3.5 miles around a large body of water with a world class rowing and recreational facility. Nathan Benderson hosts regatta competitions and many other events throughout the year. This is a great place for a morning run, roller blading, or walking your dog.
Episode 5: Venice Main Street
Venice Main Street is located in the heart of Venice and is a great place to shop, eat, and enjoy the beautiful views. They often hold special events here and have weekly attractions. Downtown Venice is home to the Venice Theater, one of the nation’s largest community theaters.
Episode 6: Florida Railroad Museum
Located in Parrish, FL, The Florida Railroad Museum was founded in 1981 and has been operating since 1992. They offer train rides on the weekends and have many special events and theme nights such as “A Trip to the North Pole” and a “World War II re-enactment.” You can even rent a private caboose or an entire train for a special event. It is one of the three Official State Railroad Museums in Florida and its purpose is to preserve railroad history.
Episode 7: Downtown Sarasota
Downtown Sarasota features an array of dining options, eclectic shops, and beautiful artwork
There are many special events here such as parades, festivals, live music, farmers market, and so much more!
Episode 8: The Shoppes at UTC
The Shoppes at UTC features national retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods, and Pier 1 Imports. Among the dozen restaurants in this center are Bonefish Grill, Fresh Kitchen, and Valentino Pizzeria. This is a great area for shopping and dining and is very popular during the holidays.
Episode 9: Summerfield Park
Located off of Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Summerfield Park is a family friendly park featuring a playground with slides, swings, and a climbing wall. The park is 15 acres with walking trails, basketball courts, tennis courts, a soccer field, sand volleyball court, and baseball field. There is also a picnic pavilion with a charcoal grill available to rent. This is a great place to spend time with family or even pets!
Episode 10: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Lakewood Ranch Main Street is the perfect place to shop, dine, or enjoy a night out. Here you can find Lakewood Ranch Cinemas and a miniature golf course, the Fish Hole. Lakewood Ranch Main Street has many special events, concerts, festivals, and more. Restaurants include Ed’s Tavern, MacAllister’s Grill & Tavern, and GROVE. The first Friday of every month, Lakewood Ranch Main Street hosts Music on Main, a free concert series and block party with food vendors, sponsor booths, beer trucks, and activities for the kids.
Episode 11: Ellenton Premium Outlets
The Ellenton Premium Outlets are located right off of I-75 in Ellenton, FL. This shopping destination is home to 130 designer and brand outlet stores such as Kate Spade, Tommy Hilfiger, and Michael Kors. This outdoor mall features tropical landscaping, beautiful fountains, and various food options. This is a great place to shop on the weekend and is a hot tourist destination. Offering public ice skating sessions, Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex is in the same plaza as the outlet mall and is home to some world renowned ice skating champions.
Episode 12: Longboat Key
North of Lido Key and South of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key contains 12 miles of sandy beaches. Here you can find luxury resorts and dining options. The Longboat Key Club is a popular destination in Longboat Key with over 200 luxurious guest rooms, golf, tennis, a spa, and a marina. Longboat Key also features the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and Ken Thompson park.
Episode 13: Osprey, FL
Located in Sarasota County, Osprey Florida is one of the best places to live in South Florida. The Osprey fishing pier is one of Osprey’s hidden gems. It is a great place to fish, relax, and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Here you can launch your canoe or kayak. The Casey Key Fish House is an “Old Florida” waterfront restaurant with exceptional food and a casual dining experience. There are also on-site rentals for jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks, fishing charters, and boats. Just south of Osprey, Nokomis Beach is on the barrier island of Casey Key. This beach has a very laid back atmosphere and is a great place for sea shell collecting and laying out in the sun.
Episode 14: Robinson Nature Preserve
Located in northwest Bradenton, The Robinson Nature Preserve consists of 682 acres and is a combination of preserved mangrove, former agricultural lands, and tidal marsh. The preserve features walking trails great for exercising and dog walking. The Robinson Preserve Tower is 53 feet tall and has breathtaking views of the water. This is a great place for nature lovers and those who seek adventure.
Episode 15: Riverwalk
Riverwalk is a 1.5 mile park in Downtown Bradenton that overlooks the Manatee River. Here you will see beautiful views of the water and artwork throughout. Riverwalk has a variety of amenities such as a skate park, playground, family fun zone and splash pad, mosaic amphitheater, and beach volleyball court. Many events are held at Riverwalk such as live music events, art festivals, and farmers market. This is a great place to take a walk or relax and enjoy the Florida breeze.
Episode 16: St. Armands Circle
Armands Circle is a very popular part of town for shopping, dining, and entertainment. In between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Armands is walking distance from Lido Beach and provides over 130 different stores such as Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Bahamas. If you are looking to grab a bite to eat, St. Armands offers many different dining options from Daiquiri Deck to Shore to Columbia, and, if you’re looking for something sweet to eat, be sure to stop by Kilwin’s or Ben & Jerry’s!
Episode 17: The Westin
Standing 19 stories tall, the Westin has breathtaking views of the Sarasota Bay and the downtown area. It is located in the arts district just minutes from the beach. The Westin features a rooftop bar and pool as well as a restaurant with creative cuisine and cocktails. Whether you are a Sarasota resident looking for a night out or a guest staying in the hotel, the Westin is a hot spot in Sarasota.
Episode 18: John Ringling Causeway
Standing 65 feet tall, the John Ringling Causeway is a bridge from Sarasota to St. Armand’s and Lido Key. It got its name from John Ringling, one of the founders of the Ringling Brothers Circus here in Sarasota, FL. On the northeast end of the bridge you will find the Sarasota Pier and Hart’s Landing, a bait shop with kayak rentals, beer and wine, and light food options. The southwest end features the Ringling Causeway Park and Bird Key Park. This is a great place for fishing, jogging, or catching a beautiful sunset.
Episode 19: Palmer Ranch
The Legacy Trail is a 12.5 mile recreational trail that can be used for multiple occasions. The trail runs between Sarasota near Palmer Ranch and Venice. This is a great place for bike riding, walking, or jogging. Potter Park is a 37-acre park located in Palmer Ranch with an array of recreational opportunities available. The park includes a picnic pavilion, large gazebo, grills, playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, nature trails, and a multi-use play-field. The Sarasota Square Mall is a popular shopping mall in Sarasota. The mall includes AMC Theaters, Costco, and JC Penney. There is also a food court with options such as Chick-fil-a, Charley’s, and Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen. Barefoot Bar & Grill is a great restaurant in the Sarasota Square Mall as well.
Episode 20: Venice Beach
Located in Sarasota County, Venice Beach provides gorgeous views of the water and the Venice Fishing Pier. This 700 foot pier is a great place to fish and enjoy the Florida breeze. Attached to the Venice Fishing Pier is a waterfront restaurant, Sharky’s on the Pier. Here you can enjoy seafood and refreshing drinks while looking out onto the water. Just south of the Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach & Paw Park is a dog friendly beach in Venice. This is a great place to bring your furry friend along and catch a beautiful sunset.
Episode 21: MOTE Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Located in Sarasota, FL, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is an independent, nonprofit marine research institution. Founded in 1955, Mote aims to advance marine science and education and is committed to ocean conservation. They have over 20 different research programs at Mote Marine. This interactive aquarium offers touch pools, exhibits, and viewable working labs. There are over 100 different marine species here including fish, manatees, sea turtles, sharks, and sea otters. Mote is open Monday through Sunday 365 days per year and is open to all ages.