Marie Selby Botanical Gardens' Downtown Sarasota Campus

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens' Downtown Sarasota Campus

Welcome to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens!

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bay-front sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history.  Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history.

Selby Gardens is a respected center for research and education. Selby Gardens is an open-air and under-glass museum of thousands of colorful and exotic plants.  Many of these plants have been collected from the wild by Selby Gardens’ research staff on more than 200 scientific expeditions to tropical rainforests. Our guests see beautiful horticultural displays and learn from our many educational programs.  They also take away with them a better understanding and greater appreciation of the natural world and the challenge it faces.

In 2013, Selby Gardens opened the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden at their Downtown Sarasota campus to attract children of all ages and further enhance Selby Gardens’ mission to provide an oasis of inspiration and tranquility, while furthering the understanding and appreciation of plants, especially epiphytes.

Extend your classroom to Selby Gardens by taking your students on an engaging, informative journey in our unique, tropical botanical gardens.  We offer specialized age-appropriate programs designed with curriculum in mind.  We are also happy to tailor a program in support of the unique needs and interests of your students.

Click here for our School Programs Guide.

Ready to book? Fill out the School Tour Booking Request Form here.

(A minimum of 10 students is required for the group rate.)


  Sarasota, FL

941-366-5731 x 273

Fluttering Butterflies and Crawling Caterpillars at Downtown Sarasota Campus (Grades K-2)

Program description

Investigate the life cycle and metamorphosis of fluttering butterflies at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus (grades K-2).

In this exploration, children will listen to Eric Carle’s story The Very Hungry Caterpillar and will recount, through the story, the life cycle and metamorphosis of a butterfly. They will participate in the “Dance of the Butterfly” on the grassy lawn of the Payne Mansion, adjacent to the butterfly garden.  Using a kaleidoscope lens to simulate butterflies’ vision, students investigate caterpillar and butterfly host plants. Students will also use hand lenses to look for butterfly eggs, and to magnify caterpillars. Learning that caterpillars eat and butterflies drink from specific plants will demonstrate the balance required when designing a butterfly garden that supports all stages of the butterfly life cycle.

Ready to book? Fill out our School Tour Booking Request form here! 

Booking / scheduling contact

Anastasia Sallen, Director of Environmental Education

   941-366-5731 ext. 273

Program detail
Artistic discipline:
Cultural Origin: Array, Array
Program type: Off-Campus Field Trip
Population served: K-2
Subject: Language Arts, Science
Bilingual: No

1534 Mound St

Sarasota FL 34236

Fees / Ticketing:



Is transportation needed for this exploration?: Yes
If Yes, who arranges transportation?: School
Is financial assistance offered?: Yes

Program info

Summer or Family Programs Offered?: yes