At Myakka River Ranch, a herd of majestic horses lets visitors feel the liberating rush of flying through the grass atop a sturdy saddle. Among the stable's friendly inhabitants, an American Saddlebred performs tricks, an American Paint Horse frolics in the ranch's streams, and an Akhal-Teke mare—descended from the strong, golden horses bred in Persia more than 3,000 years ago—gallops in the outdoor arena. Along with lessons that impart the basics of English-style riding, Myakka's staff leads trail rides amid the scenic landscape, where majestic oak trees and open fields distract the horses from exploring the local sugar-cube quarry.
With more than half a century of history behind its name, Sarasota Lanes has seen generations of locals bowl its alleys, with progeny making sly, crouching approaches to the same lanes their parents did years ago. The tradition continues at the alley?s 36 lanes with automatic scoring, far superior to counting on the fingers and toes of fellow players. The alley's snack bar refuels bowlers with succulent chicken wings, burgers, pizzas, and drinks. At the pro shop, bowlers can gear up for future lane domination with balls, bags, and accessories.
At Crowley Museum and Nature Center, a pioneer museum set up like a general store, historic structures, and a sugar-cane mill depict a Florida homestead as it would have existed between 1850 and 1920. At the heart of the homestead is the Tatum-Rawls House, which was built as a single-story house between 1888 and 1892, and is the oldest example of rural architecture in Florida. Over time, it was expanded to accommodate the Tatum clan, by the addition of a second floor, consisting of William Tatum and his wife and eight children, and was recently restored to its original glory with a wide front porch. Elsewhere on the 185-acre expanse, the Crowley Farm continues to pluck away at the land with pigs, cows, and a horse named Sugar who pulls the cane press to make the juice that is later boiled to syrup crystals. Boardwalks and nature trails traverse the delicate swamp, flat woods, and Tatum Sawgrass marsh that contain a variety of wildlife species including white pelicans, swallowtail kites, and eagles.
Paddleboarders and kayakers flock to Hooked on SUP's cabana, lounging by the pool before they paddle out into the Gulf of Mexico's waters. The staff includes kayak and paddleboard instructors, who teach newbies the finer details of understanding a dolphin's traffic signals. Aside from rentals and lessons, Hooked on SUP occasionally leads special eco tours.