The first island you see as you enter the John Ringling Causeway Bridge from Sarasota, Bird Key is considered as one of the more exclusive communities in the area. Formed by dredging and filling, Bird Key was purchased by circus magnate John Ringling during the early 1920s, and was subsequently bequeathed to his sister, Ida Ringling North, who lived there until 1950. Arvida Corp. then bought the island from Ida’s son, John Ringling North, and eventually developed it into the prestigious neighborhood it is today.
Bird Key is a purely residential, guarded community, composed solely of single-family detached homes ranging from houses built during the 1950s to remodeled custom homes and grand luxury estates on palm-tree-lined streets. Homes along the canal sides have their own private boat docks, and many offer spectacular views of the mainland, the bay and nearby keys, and even the Gulf of Mexico in the distance.
The sole provider of amenities on the island is the Bird Key Yacht Club, which can be found near the center portion of the Key. This private club has a 24-hour fitness center, three tennis courts, and a 42-slip marina that can accommodate boats from 20 to 50 feet. Bird Key’s ideal location also makes it accessible to other amenities outside the island, such as shopping and dining in St. Armands Key or downtown Sarasota, as well as the lovely beaches of Lido Key and Longboat Key, all located just minutes away.
Bird Key Quick Facts
- Bird Key was named after the many birds that flocked to the original island.
- Major roadways in Bird Key include Florida State Road 789 that’s part of the John Ringling Causeway, and Bird Key Drive, which starts from the neighborhood’s entrance then splits into several routes as it winds through the area.
- The John Ringling Causeway was named after John Ringling, one of the brothers who was part of the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus empire; he originally constructed the bridge in 1925.
- Most of the streets in the community are named after birds.