What we're about

Welcome to DISCOVER GREATER SARASOTA!  Join our group if you have a curiosity to discover, explore and learn about our region’s attractions, including its history, development and evolution. Our goal is to provide opportunities for group tours, presentations, walks and bike rides at unique venues that make up part of Sarasota’s past and present, and offer insights to its future.  Our venues include but are not limited to:
· nature walks, guided by docents, park rangers or other local experts, that explore the wildlife, plant life, natural features and ecosystems of our area;
· historical outings or walks through special neighborhoods and communities;
· leisurely bike rides that scout interesting localities in and around the Suncoast region;
· public institutions, such as libraries and schools, governmental services or non-profit organizations with a mission to serve the Suncoast region;
· cultural centers, such as performing arts centers, museums, churches and other similar attractions;
· business enterprises, from service industry (including food and beverage) to manufacturing, that reveal their history, growth and development as well as impact to the community;
· and other activities of educational interest.

Although DGS is a not-for-profit organization, the Meetup® organization charges the organizers, substantial fees annually to maintain our group’s website.  To cover these costs, we may from time to time ask for donations from our members. We also provide each attending member a printed name badge with a protective sleeve and magnetic clasp for a nominal cost of $5. DGS badges are required to be worn at all events except bike rides. (Important Note: These magnetic badges should not be worn near any pacemaker.)  
In addition, while we try to offer free events, many attractions may charge an admission fee. Admission fees and instructions on whether to pay in advance or pay upon arrival will be noted in the event description.

· When you RSVP for an Event, you are making a commitment to attend.  Please be respectful of the organizers and the venue staff who have planned for your attendance.  If you find you cannot attend, change your status to NO or Not Going before the start of the Event.  THREE (3) No Shows will result in membership cancellation.
· Many of our Events and venues can only accommodate a limited number of participants.  Therefore, the organizer may choose to accept Members Only as RSVPs (i.e., no Plus Ones) in an effort to increase member participation. Under no circumstances will joint memberships (i.e., two people using one Member ID) be honored.  If an Event does allow guests, it is your sole responsibility to inform them of our policies and other terms and conditions and obtain their consent.
· Be aware of your capabilities before signing up for any Event that includes a walk or bike ride.  Some walks may be long, covering several miles, and may cover terrain including hot pavement, sandy beaches, gravel paths, hills and other challenges. Bike rides assume you are familiar with and agree to observe the proper rules for biking, both on trails and on roads. Always BRING WATER to stay hydrated and match your physical condition to appropriate events. You are also hereby advised to always WEAR A HELMET while riding a bicycle.
· Events are not appropriate for pets, so please do not bring them. 
· We wish to promote social interaction among our member attendees, but this is not a dating site. Please be respectful of each other’s personal choices and personal boundaries and always be considerate of other members. Any type of harassment or public intoxication will not be tolerated. If at any time, a member behaves incompatibly with the safety, comfort and/or convenience of other members, we have the exclusive right and discretion to expel a member from an Event and/or DGS at any time.

Assumption of Risk: We hope your experience with our Events will be safe, pleasurable and fun.  That being said, accidents can happen anywhere, and can involve risks and hazards that are greater than usual.  Therefore, you acknowledge that you voluntarily participate in our Events and you knowingly and freely agree to assume all the risks and hazards to which you may be exposed, foreseen or unforeseen, whether inherent or not in each Event. These risks can include, but are not limited to, property loss or damage, getting personally lost, trapped or separated from the group, personal injury, illnesses, reputational damage, harassment, discrimination, failure to accommodate you, emotional and/or mental distress, any other inconveniences and even death (collectively referred to hereafter as “Injuries and Damages”) from exposure to or participation in our activities. You are also aware that Injuries and Damages can occur by natural causes, equipment failure or activities of other persons, animals, insects, plants, our surroundings, group members, event leaders, organizers and assistants or third parties, either as a result of negligence or because of other reasons. You further understand and agree that on any Event, it is not the responsibility of the organizers, leaders, volunteers and members of the group to provide rescue or medical facilities or related services necessary to deal with the Injuries and Damages to which you may be exposed. You therefore agree to assume all risks, which may or may not be known or reasonably foreseeable and without limitation and you appreciate that you may have to exercise extra care for your own person and for others around you in the face of such hazards.
General Waiver and Release:  In consideration for the opportunity to participate in our Events, to the fullest extent allowed by law, you agree on behalf of yourself, your family members, your spouse, your heirs and/or assigns (collectively referred to throughout this release and waiver agreement as “you”) to WAIVE, DISCHARGE CLAIMS, AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY the organizers, leaders, volunteers and members of the group from any and all liability on account of, or in any way resulting from Injuries and Damages, even if caused by negligence, in any way connected with our Events. You further agree to HOLD HARMLESS the organizers, leaders, volunteers and members of our group from any claims, damages, injuries or losses arising out of or related to any activity associated with your participation in any Event, whether caused by their own negligence while a participant on the Event or not. You agree and intend that this assumption of risk and release is binding upon your heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, and includes any minors or pets.
Conflict Resolution:  If a dispute arises that cannot be worked out directly among the parties, you agree to submit your dispute to the Meetup® Community Center provided by the Meetup® Platform and abide by their arbitration procedures.
Entire Agreement:  By joining our Meetup® group, you are deemed to have read our description, our policies and the general release and waiver agreement in its entirety and freely and voluntarily assume all risks of such Injuries and Damages and notwithstanding such risks, agree to participate in the Events you attend under the terms and conditions written herein.
If you have any questions about an Event, please post them to the Event on the Meetup®  website and we will respond. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Upcoming events (4)

Historic Spanish Point Tour (please read full description)

Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL


Members may join us for a 1-mile 90-minute tour, led by our very own Mike Lehner, who will introduce you to 5,000 years of history on the 30-acre campus of Spanish Point. Two distinct groups of native Americans have called the area home as well as the first pioneers of South Sarasota County, the Webbs, who arrived in 1867 from New York. Bertha Palmer, from Chicago, bought the property from the Webbs in 1910 and made it her home until her death. In addition to information on these people, the tour will also point out plants used by the native Americans and pioneers for food, clothing and other purposes.

Cost of the tour is a discounted prepaid rate of $15. Fee applies to all attendees, even if you have a membership with Selby Gardens. Please remit $15 via Meetup or Paypal to Melody Barackman. You may also use Venmo or Zelle for prepayment. Payment made same day as your RSVP is requested. RSVPs not prepaid by January 13 will be moved to Not Going to give any wait-listers a chance to attend. Cancellations after January 15th will NOT be eligible for refund. Thank you for your understanding.

Please wear your badge and arrive early to check in with me. When you turn off of Route 41 and into the HSP complex, please follow the arrows for about half a mile on a one-way road to get to the gazebo, our meeting place. Just before the gazebo is angled parking on both shoulders of the road. Also, if you do not have a badge, please message me and I will create one for you for $5.00. Thank you!

Bike and Ice Cream

Culverhouse Parking Area

Nothing goes better with a bike ride than ICE CREAM! Join me for a ride on the new north extension of the Legacy Trail. We will ride to the current terminus of Bahia Vista, and explore the Mennonite community of Pinecraft. I will then treat our riders to a single scoop of ice cream at Big Olafs, after which we will start our return trip to Culverhouse.

Bike and Walk ride Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park

This is a slow relaxed ride at speeds between 7-10 mph with frequent stops to observe nature and take short walks. This is more of a scenic ride than a race.

Some of the stops include the bridge to view alligators, a short walk along a trail, the Canopy Walk, the Birdwalk, the upper lake and other stops. Bring your camera and binoculars.

We'll ride from near the park's entrance on St. Rd. 72 to Clay Gulley, which is near the end of the park, then return to our starting point. The total ride should be about 14 miles.

BRING: road-ready bike, helmet, spare tube or co2 cartridge for flats, water, sunscreen, snack, fees for park entrance ( $6 per carload, $4 for a single person). Bring the correct amount in cash as they seldom have change.

Circus Hammock Preserve

Circus Hammock

Join me and Sarasota County Naturalist, Jeff Weber, for a nature walk through Circus Hammock Preserve This preserve is smaller than most... a 22-acre site comprised primarily of freshwater swamp habitat, interspersed with higher areas of shady oak hammocks. Winter is the ideal time to visit, as insect populations are more tolerable, trails are much more accessible and swampy areas are almost entirely dry. Virtually the entire preserve floods each year during the wet season (June-October/November) and trails can sometimes be knee-deep in standing water for several months! Most of the overstory is deciduous trees (red maples, American elms, laurel oaks and water oaks) but even in winter, the site is fairly shady.

How to prepare: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can get muddy in case we encounter some mucky areas along the trail. The area is mostly shady, but a hat or sunscreen may be desirable. Bring water, insect repellent and camera/binoculars. Be sure to wear your special DGS badge and arrive a little early to check in. If you need a badge, send me a message and I will make you one for $5 that you can proudly wear at all our events!

Entrance and parking:
Navigate to the 17th Street Paw Park (4570 – 17th Street, Sarasota). If driving north on Beneva Road, turn right onto 17th Street and go past the Bobby Jones Golf Course and look for the entrance to the paw park on the right, just a short distance past the traffic light at Longmeadow. If coming from Honore Avenue, turn west onto 17th Street and continue west, just past the Sarasota Archery Club to the paw park entrance on the left. Turn into the entrance to the 17th Street Paw Park and park anywhere along the right side (west side) road shoulder, near the entrance to the preserve a short distance down on the right.

Please note, there are no facilities at Circus Hammock Preserve, but porta-potties are located near the parking area at the paw park.

Past events (258)

Downtown SRQ Public Art Walk

J.D. Hamel Park

Photos (2,029)