FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Sniki Tiki & Clowns

by Yasser Ogando

Apr 5, 2024

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages … welcome to the circus!” As an adult, it can sometimes seem too few mysteries remain in life. We know all the “secrets” and “tricks” and what’s real and what’s fake, but I dare you to visit the circus and not feel at least a little bit of that childlike wonder return. Nathan’s mom purchased the family ringside seats to see Circus Sarasota in Nathan Benderson Park. We arrived a little early and parking was well-directed, so we had time to grab a pre-show drink from the bar. Inside the tent we grabbed our seats and the show began — and what a show! First, we were introduced to the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team hopefuls (the trials to select the team take place this weekend in Nathan Benderson Park), then the owners of The Circus Arts Conservatory. The CAC offers circus training to youth and adults as well as performances and shows. They also act to preserve circus arts. That afternoon we were treated to dazzling feats of human strength and balance, surprisingly hilarious improv from randomly selected audience members, and daring stunts that left both children and adults cheering when they were pulled off. At about 2.5 hours with an intermission, the show was the perfect length for all ages to sit through, and we were glad to have the experience.circus circus

We didn’t get home too late; and since it was the last day of my “vacation” part of the trip, Nathan and I chose to drive into what we thought was Siesta Key Village but turned out to be just a small collection of shops and two touristy tiki bars well before the actual village. After some confusion about why people thought it was so great or would tell us to visit here, we realized our mistake and decided to just make the best of the tiki bar — Sniki Tiki to be precise — for the night. We had just paid enough in parking to have bought two drinks, after all. It ended up being a fun evening, and we were able to catch some of the sunset while sipping our tiki drinks and enjoying some bar bites.circus

The rest of the trip was filled with work during the day for me (I was fortunate enough to be near our Sarasota office and borrowed a desk there for the week) and exploring for Nathan. However, we were still able to take advantage of the evenings, and you can bet we did!circus

On Tuesday Nathan and I wanted to have a date night and find the actual Siesta Key Village. This time, armed with a restaurant address in the village plugged into Waze and not just an ambiguous “Siesta Key,” we were able to find it. Go figure. Upon arriving, we took the first spot we saw — parking is tight — and set off exploring the strips of shops and restaurants. We had reservations at Summerhouse originally but quickly changed our minds and chose to grab bites at a few places around town. It was too tempting to sample from multiple spots versus only one. Nathan had a martini bar in mind he wanted us to try, and we wound up walking into Flavio’s ‘Martini’ Bar & Restaurant instead. The bar was packed, so they placed us at a table and we settled in for some apps and dinner. Excitedly, we opened the menu to order our martinis and … to our surprise, there were no martinis listed! Befuddled, we asked the waiter if we could get espresso martinis and she assured us we could. The result? A confused, spiked iced coffee in a regular glass. Ah, well, we tried. On the bright side, the brick-oven Pizza Burrata was superb, as was the Pappardelle Al Porcini. Sated, we strolled through the town a bit longer and topped the evening off with an ice cream cone from Olaf’s Homemade Ice Cream & Cones. We will definitely return for seconds!circus sunset

Flavio's

Flavio’s Pappardelle Al Porcini

Flavio's

Flavio’s Pizza Burrata

Olaf's Ice Cream

Olaf’s Ice Cream

The whole family was looking forward to Wednesday night, as it was trivia night. Nathan’s mom had been waiting for us to come down so we could all try the trivia at Food + Beer in Gulf Gate. We usually catch trivia at home whenever we can, and it was fun to bring the tradition to Florida. Fortunately, we arrived early for the 6:30 p.m. trivia start as we grabbed the last seats available. Turns out trivia is popular there, although we quickly learned it is not played the way we are used to. Instead of answering rounds of questions on a single sheet and passing them in in between rounds for grading, we had to run a small sheet of paper to the trivia master each question before the song that was playing stopped. Then she graded each answer on a sheet, and we also graded ourselves on our own sheet. The result was a chaotic mix of people running sheets to and from and the music being too loud to hear your own team. The poor waiters were also going around trying to take orders while the trivia questions (that the trivia master did not repeat) were being asked. The food was also nothing to write home about; however, the drinks were decent, and it wasn’t a bad time — just probably not a place we would return.

With an early morning alarm set for our 7 a.m. trip to the airport Friday morning, the family decided to stay in and grill Thursday evening. In between packing and doing laundry, we joined Nate’s parents on the dock to watch the sunset. With ice-cold glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a frosty beer or two, we all ventured down and soaked in one last sunset over the Gulf and one last warm winter evening before our journey north.

When you vacation, do you live it up on the last night or prefer to stay in and prepare for the trip home?

— Yasser Ogando, executive director, media

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FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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