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Take Your Kids to Crowley Museum and Nature Center

The Crowley Museum and Nature Center is an enthralling mix of agriculture, Old Florida, cool artifacts, and awesome play areas for younger and older kids alike. This specialty museum offers guests a glimpse into Florida’s natural history, and the people who helped make it their own over generations of farming, cooking, and inventing. 

About

First and foremost, the museum and nature center collectively offer a children’s treasure trove of discovery. This is definitely a family-friendly stop, and you’ll see that immediately with the various farm animals, cabins to explore, and play area. 

Throughout the area, you will find a variety of activities to keep your kids engaged, all with a focus on sustainability, the local nature, and the history of Florida.

What to Do

So what can kids do exactly? We run through our five favorite activities between the nature center and the Crowley Museum.

1) Nature Trails: Walk along the defined boardwalk nature trails for hands-on learning. Kids will see various plaques and information about plants and wildlife and actually connect what they read with what they see. The main trail is about half a mile long. The trails carry you through five key habitats, including the grand Maple Branch Swamp and the Tatum Sawgrass Marsh.  

2) Climb the Tower: The trail culminates in a stop by a two-story observation tower. The tower overlooks the marshes and gives you and your crew a clear look at the Myakka River.

3) Pioneer Living General Store: Stop by the general store to see how old settlers would get the goods they need. This museum contains a number of historical artifacts from the Crowley collection, including tools like saws, wrenches, and lamps. 

4) See the Cabin: This cabin is a clear representation of what pioneer living was like. In a single room, settlers had a kitchen, bed, and living space. The cabin was created using wood reclaimed from John Crowley’s cabin.

5) Meet the Animals: Animals can be found all over the grounds. You can find deer and turkey frolicking through the trails. You’ll find a chicken pen and a number of Cracker Cows- direct descendants from Ponce de Leon’s cattle! If you keep on the lookout, you are bound to find bald eagles, squirrels, turtles, and more.

6) Visit the Sugarcane Mill: The sugarcane mill walks you through how pioneers made sugar cane. It was boiled in a kettle to create the cane syrup, which was used to make taffy and even molasses. The cane syrup was often dried to make brown sugar. This little stop is a treat for history and food lovers.

General Information

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weather permitting for some outside events. Event schedules are available on the website. They could include animal petting, blacksmith instructions, and bird watching.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for kids ages 2-12. Members and active military are free. You can find the museum at 16405 Myakka Road in Sarasota. It is about 15 minutes from the hotels near Siesta Key.

girl holding her mom's hand in a park

Other Kid-Friendly Things to Do

You can find some really awesome things to do for kids in the immediate area. One of the most popular attractions is the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. It features bird and animal shows and about 10 acres of gardens to explore. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is huge, featuring a collection of museum buildings with international art, circus memorabilia, and nature trails. There are plenty of day trips you can have if you want a break from the beach or the Village.

Tired after a day of fun? Find somewhere to eat just steps from our Siesta Key beach resort. There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants with great food.

Where to Stay

Our Siesta Key beach resort is the premier place to stay for you and your kids. Indulge in every local attraction and experience all the various natural nooks and coves. And our Siesta Key hotels on the beach give you instant access to perhaps Siesta Key’s best feature of all- the glorious white sand beaches.

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