Just like her daughter Colleen, Kay Keogh likes to find great hotels and activities while on the road and share them with families. Here is her report on the Sarasota area, located on the southwest coast of Florida.

Colleen’s mom reviews a Florida destination that offers something for everyone



Just like her daughter Colleen, Kay Keogh likes to find great hotels and activities while on the road and share them with families. Here is her report on the Sarasota area, located on the southwest coast of Florida.

My daughter assigns me the task of scouting for her show! She asks me to be on the lookout for family-friendly areas that offer a variety of activities, dining, shopping spots and hotels that are great for kids.

Sarasota is well known for its beaches as well as its cultural and environmental amenities. It is located south of the Tampa Bay area and north of Fort Myers, with easy access by plane or car. The city offers plenty of adventure that kids of all ages will enjoy, as will their grandparents who accompany them!

In Sarasot, one attraction that the whole family can enjoy is the Florida State University Ringling Center. They have an impressive art collection, and admission is free on Mondays. There is a tour of the palatial home of Mable and John Ringling featuring collectibles from all over the world. Another part of the premises features interesting artifacts from the days when the circus came to town. What I found the most fascinating were the original Pullman rail cars that were decorated in the era when Mr. Ringling was travelling across the country. And this is just one family-friendly attraction in Sarasota!


There is so much to do in Sarasota with the grandkids. The next time we come, I want to check out the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which contains the new Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden. These are attractions I think we would all like to explore together. While we are in the area, I’m sure my daughters would like to visit the Miromar Outlets mall, too. They do like to find a good bargain!

Now for my favorite part of any scouting trip, the hotel! I must admit that I do enjoy a great hotel stay. From the moment we checked into the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, we were greeted with friendly smiles and helpful staff. While exploring the Sarasota area and all that the entire hotel had to offer, we soon decided that this would be a wonderful place to bring our grandchildren in the future.

Let’s start off with the delectable foods offered at the hotel. The chef designed a menu FOR kids and BY kids. I think my granddaughters would love it. The menu for the adults is perfect for us foodies and that sounds like a WIN-WIN to me! While I was at the hotel’s chic, upscale Currents restaurant, I tried the featured Scottish salmon and clam chowder soup that are out of this world. You’ll never go hungry here!


Now for the activities. There are tons of poolside games, popsicles and s’more kits available to roast over the hotel’s outdoor poolside fireplace at night time. Guests can rent paddle boats or paddle boards, plus kayaks that are always ready to go. You can even schedule charter boats for the whole family to enjoy. You’ll never be bored with so many activities to do such as biking, fishing, scavenger hunts, treasure dives, cannonball contests and more.

The staff at the Hyatt Regency brought service to a whole new level. Desk agents were accommodating in arranging any family activity. The valet attendants were always cheerful and glad to help in any way.

I was sorry we were not able to stay longer as I would have loved to have attended one of the events at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall located just steps from the Hyatt. I was amazed at the variety offered. There was something for everyone, from ballet to modern dance to country music to comedy and even “Jersey Boys!” Schedules are listed online.

We can’t wait to return to Sarasota with the grandkids and their parents soon to check out all of these fun and exciting attractions!

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