Venice Audubon Rookery Park is an oasis of natural beauty surrounded by urban development. The central feature of this small park is a rookery island where birds roost and nest. Visitors can view wildlife from benches in the shaded pavilion or walk around the small pond (approximately 1/2 mile). The best times to visit are early morning or late afternoon.
During nesting months (December through May), visitors may see Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Anhingas, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Glossy Ibises, Green Herons, Tricolored Herons, and Black-crowned Night-Herons roosting, courting, building nests, incubating eggs, and raising chicks.
Nesting season is the busiest time but visitors can observe wildlife at Venice Audubon Rookery Park year round. Nesting bird species and others flock to the island each evening at sunset to roost safely for the night. Alligators patrol the lake, keeping predators away from the island’s birds. During nesting season, Venice Area Audubon Society volunteer docents provide information and answer questions at the pavilion and stewards keep the property clean and safe year round.
Venice Audubon Rookery Park is a Sarasota County Park. Information about it can be found on the Sarasota County Parks website and by contacting the Sarasota County Contact Center: call 311 or 941-861-5000 or email ContactCenter@scgov.net.
The Venice Area Audubon Society is an all-volunteer organization and volunteers act as stewards and docents during the winter and spring at the park.
Venice Audubon Rookery Park is open to the public from dawn to dusk (6:00 am to dusk), 365 days a year. To ensure the safety of the birds, no dogs or other pets are allowed. Alligators are present and visitors are advised to be cautious, especially near the water's edge. No fishing or drones are allowed.
Click here to download a checklist of birds seen at or near the Venice Rookery. Please let us know if you observe other species there!
From the North: Take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) south, 1/2 mile past Rt. 776. Turn right onto Annex Road at the Sarasota County Anderson Administration Center. Follow Annex Road through the parking lot and past the Venice Audubon Nature Center to the Rookery parking and pavilion.
From the South: Take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) north, 1/8 mile past Jacaranda Blvd. (Walmart on south corner). Turn left onto Annex Road at the Sarasota County Anderson Administration Center. Follow Annex Road thorough the parking lot and past the Venice Audubon Nature Center to the Rookery parking and pavilion.
From I-75: Take Exit 193, merge onto Jacaranda Blvd., and continue to U.S. 41. Turn right (north) onto U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail). After 1/8 mile, turn left onto Annex Road at the Sarasota County Anderson Administration Center. Follow Annex Road thorough the parking lot and past the Venice Audubon Nature Center to the Rookery parking and pavilion.
Please park only in designated spots. A parking area with one designated spot for people with disabilities is located near the pavilion. Additional parking is available by the Sarasota County Anderson Administration Center. Please do not park on the grass or drive in the park
Think Before You Shoot
Watching hundreds of bats emerge from their houses at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery has become a popular evening activity. Sarasota County installed six bat houses near the Rookery and regularly monitors them for activity. They are located just left of the Rookery pond.
Two species of bats have been identified using the six bat houses: The Evening Bat and the Brazilian or Mexican Free-tailed Bat.