Immerse Yourself in Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota

Lido Key, Florida, is the place to be if you’re looking for a relaxing and luxurious vacation destination. You can spend time relaxing on the shores, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, or shopping from the best name brands all over the island. Our Lido Key rentals put you right near it all. But if you want a unique experience over on the mainland, there’s plenty to do in Sarasota.

Many visitors to Lido Key enjoy taking a quick day trip to Sarasota to experience the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This breathtaking destination is ideal for a short visit or a leisurely day exploring the various exhibits and unique plant varieties around every corner.

If you’re planning a trip to the Lido Key area, be sure not to miss out on this fascinating attraction. 

Plan Your Visit

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been a staple of the Sarasota community since opening its doors in 1973. Back then, Marie Selby herself granted her former property and home to the city for “the enjoyment of the general public.” Marie Selby lived in the area from the 1920s until her death in 1971. She was known around the area as a master gardener and was a charter member of the city’s first garden club. Today, visitors from around the country come to admire what her legacy has left behind. 

If you want to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens during your stay in Lido Key, you’re in luck. It only takes about 10 minutes to drive there! All you need to do is go onto Benjamin Franklin Drive, heading northwest and follow the road as it turns into John Ringling Boulevard. Once you reach St. Armands Circle, take the third exit to stay on John Ringling Boulevard. After 1.5 miles, continue onto Gulf Stream, then continue onto Bayfront Drive. You’ll then continue onto Mound Street before turning onto South Orange Avenue. Now you’re at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens!

Once you arrive, you’ll need to secure your tickets. Admission costs $25 per adult, $10 for those ages 5-17, and free for those ages 4 and under. You’re welcome to visit the Gardens any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can take advantage of the complimentary on-site valet service to park your car at the Gardens. There are other parking areas depending on how busy it is, that may be available. 

Besides the Gardens, the campus offers additional amenities for you to take advantage of. Visitors can enjoy the Garden Shop to pick up garden accessories, floral arrangements, unique souvenirs, gift cards, apparel, and more. If you get hungry during your time here, visit the Selby House Café to enjoy light lunch options and coffee and tea. 

Tour the Gardens

There are several different options when it comes to exploring Marie Selby Gardens. You can opt for a self-guided or guided tour or tour the Gardens by boat!

Self-guided tours are available for $18 per person and require a minimum of eight people. You’ll start your tour with a quick orientation by a staff member before being allowed to explore the Gardens for yourself. You’ll also receive an audio guide to listen to as you wander and additional reading and learning materials. 

view of the water from the botanical gardens
Photo from Shutterstock

Group tours are much the same but give you the added benefit of having an experienced guide to answer all your questions. You’ll still receive the same orientation, audio guide, and additional materials that are offered on self-guided tours. These tours also cost an eight-person minimum and $28 per person. You can expect to be on your tour for around 45 minutes. 

Selby Gardens has recently unveiled a new experience: Selby Gardens by Boat! This is a full-day excursion that allows you to experience the main Sarasota campus and the separate Historic Spanish Point campus. You’ll get round-trip boat transportation between the campuses and fascinating narration describing what you see along the way. Lunch is also provided. This adventure lasts from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $125 per person. 

Annual Events

No matter what time of the year you want to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, there’s always something fun. While staying around the holidays, you can enjoy some fantastic annual events!

For instance, Halloween at Selby Gardens is a popular event for locals and visitors. The Gardens often hosts spooky storytelling events and intriguing ghost tours in the days leading up to Halloween. On Halloween itself, you can bring your kids to the Gardens to enjoy a few hours of family-friendly games, crafts, and trick-or-treating!

Moving into the holiday season, enjoy the Lights in Bloom show! During this event, the Gardens are decked out with more than two million holiday lights, making for a genuinely unforgettable stroll through the exhibits. You’ll also enjoy tons of photo ops, arts and crafts, entertainment, and food for purchase.

Ring in the New Year at Selby Gardens! Calling itself “Sarasota’s most sophisticated black-tie New Year’s Eve experience,” this event allows you to enjoy private access to Lights in Bloom, a four-course dinner, and fantastic fireworks and entertainment. Remember that this event is only open to those 15 and up.

Finally, if you’re visiting in the summertime, check out the July 4th All-American Cookout! You can celebrate Independence Day on the Bay, enjoying the incredible fireworks display and the breathtaking exhibits all around the Gardens. Of course, there’s plenty of good food to be had, too! 

Your Lido Key Vacation Rental

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are a “must do” attraction for any group visiting the Sarasota area. You can bring your crew back to one of our Lido Key vacation rentals to unwind for the rest of the night or freshen up for an evening out on the town. Lido Key Vacations is proud to help you plan and execute a Florida getaway that is simply unforgettable.

Plan Your Vacation

While we’re located on beautiful Lido Key, you’re not simply limited to the island. You can also discover the possibilities of nearby areas like Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, and Siesta Key. Whatever you decide to do, you can rest assured knowing you have a welcoming place to return to at the end of the day. If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Lido Key, Florida, you’re in the right place. Contact Lido Key Vacations today to learn more.

We are a boutique vacation rental service that strives to provide the utmost luxury and care to every guest who stays with us. Our team forms personal relationships with all guests to ensure you have everything you need during your stay. Amenities vary between our properties, but you can always expect features like flat-screen TVs, fully stocked kitchens with upscale appliances, private backyard oases, and so much more.