To mark Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s 25th anniversary, the Foundation funded a permanent, interactive, family-friendly, public art installation and gifted it to the City of Venice in 2020. It features 10 bronze sculptures, each about 10 inches long of native species of living and prehistoric sharks, located throughout downtown Venice. The works of art were created by internationally known fine artists at Sarasota’s Bronzart Foundry.
In 2021, Venice MainStreet partnered with Gulf Coast Community Foundation to create this web page and a printed brochure to help shark fans find these fun and beautiful sculptures. To learn more about Florida’s sharks and see live sharks up close in person, visit Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota. To learn more about why Venice, Florida is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World CLICK HERE.
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FIRST HINT! The Venice Shark Spotting dedication plaque is by the children’s splash pad located at 200 W. Venice Ave. The total walking loop distance is approximately 1 mile and will take about 45-60 minutes depending on how long it takes you to find each shark. Have fun exploring!
DO THE SHARK LOOP!
Set off on your Shark Spotting adventure in Centennial Park at the dedication plaque by the Intergenerational Fountain. Finding shark #1 will be easy from here because it is also located in the park. Use the clues below to find all 10 sharks. Pay attention to the words in all caps (they are clues)! If you need extra help, click the hint buttons to get the street addresses.
The downtown walking trail loop will take you from West Venice Avenue to Nokomis Avenue, to Tampa Avenue, to West Venice Avenue, to Miami Avenue West, to Nokomis Avenue, then back to West Venice Avenue.
Start at the dedication plaque
Set off on your shark spotting adventure in Centennial Park. See if you can find the plaque commemorating the project.
To find Shark #1, swim very close by in Centennial Park and find a large structure in the shape of an octagon.
1. Maggie the Megalodon Shark
Look for me in CENTENNIAL PARK at a place where I might take the STAGE and sing “Baby Shark.”
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #2, swim to Nokomis Avenue North.
2. Tony the Tiger Shark
I’m looking to BUY A HOME between TAMPA and VENICE. Do you see any real estate offices around?
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #3, swim to Tampa Avenue West.
3. Sam the Snaggletooth Shark
I’m just beyond the VENICE THEATRE in a park I call home that has a pretty MURAL. I’m by the WATER, of course.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #4, swim along Tampa Avenue West about a block heading west.
4. Lonnie the Lemon Shark
I’m in front of a historic 3-STORY BUILDING with red awnings, which was once a hotel. It was also the quarters of the Kentucky Military Institute when the cadets came down to Venice during the winters from the 1930s to 1970s.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #5, swim west along Tampa Avenue, take a left on Nassau Street by the children’s fountain, then a right on West Venice Avenue and head west toward the beach.
5. Bertie the Bull Shark
I THOUGHT about swimming with my FOUR friends but decided to go with my brother and sister, ROSE & LEO.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #6, swim safely across the street at the crosswalk and head east (left) down West Venice Avenue. If you crossed Nassau Street, then you missed it!
6. Suzy the Sandbar Shark
LISA’S store is having a birthday CELEBRATION on the CORNER, so I am on my way to party with my shark friends.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #7, swim east along West Venice Avenue past Nassau Street. Look for a hidden, secret passage that connects Venice Avenue to Miami Avenue. A pretty mural should catch your eye!
7. Hannah the Hammerhead Shark
I swam here before the FOUNDERS of Venice could even find it on a map. I am hanging out by a beautiful MURAL.
NEXT ONE: You are more than halfway done in the loop! To find Shark #8, swim through the hidden, secret passage to Miami Avenue. When you get to the clock tower, make a right and head west along the parking lot. Swim about a half block (passing Nassau Street). Keep your eyes peeled!
8. Nellie the Nurse Shark
My baby and I are near a CHURCH that has been located here since the 1930s.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #9, turn around and head east along Miami Avenue. Cross over safely at a crosswalk to get to the other sidewalk on Miami Avenue to enjoy the shops and restaurants along the way. Pay attention when you get to the intersection of Miami, Ponce de Leon and Nokomis avenues. There is a pretty, little, green space that’s perfect for a shark nap.
9. Buster the Bonnethead Shark
Look for me sitting on top of a BRICK PLANTER near a big FOUNTAIN because I love water. I can see from NOKOMIS to MIAMI.
NEXT ONE: To find Shark #10, swim to Nokomis Avenue South heading back toward West Venice Avenue. If you take the sidewalk on the right side, it will be easier to find the shark but you’ll miss the cool shops on the left side. So, you pick your path!
10. Bella the Blacktip Shark
I’m thinking about buying a swimsuit so the SUN won’t BUG me.
Congratulations! You found all ten sharks and got tons of exercise! You are now back at West Venice Avenue. The children’s fountain, where you started, is one block west and across the street if you want to complete your walking loop.
Want to look for more fun stuff around downtown Venice? How about mermaids and seahorses or hidden fairy doors next? For more information go to FantaSeaVenice.com and VeniceFairies.com.