Florida: Sarasota County

Sarasota County (pop. 379,448) is south of Manatee County, along the Gulf of Mexico. The origin of the name “Sarasota” is unknown.

The county seat of Sarasota County is the city of Sarasota (pop. 52,166), in the county’s northwestern corner.

The courthouse (1927) is in Mediterranean Revival style.

Starting in 1927, Sarasota was the winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Today, it is the home of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The Ringling Mansion (Ca’d’Zan) is open for tours.

The Ringling Circus Museum features a 44,000-piece miniature circus.

The world’s largest

The 25-foot “Unconditional Surrender” statue is a landmark in Sarasota. It is based on a famous photograph taken in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945.

First installed in 2005

Sarasota Jungle Gardens, open since 1936, has bird and animal shows, in addition to its gardens.

Bike-riding parrots

The Sarasota Opera House (originally the Edwards Theatre, 1926) is the home of the Sarasota Opera.

Elvis Presley played there in 1956.

The former Sarasota High School is being renovated. When completed, it will become the Sarasota Museum of Art.

Built in 1926

The Sarasota Chalk Festival, which began in 2007, features a wide variety of Italian street painting in downtown Sarasota.

The world’s most important chalk festival

The Baltimore Orioles have had their spring training home at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota since 2010.

The White Sox played there previously.

The largest city in Sarasota County is North Port (pop. 57,357). Located inland, North Port has grown from a population of 178 in 1960.

Warm Mineral Springs, North Port

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