I've lived in this area my entire life and I never knew there was a sea lion preserve on the Suncoast!
The Sarasota Sea Lion Preserve has been operating in Myakka City since 1998, caring for animals who, for various reasons, aren't able to care for themselves.
The preserve was started by Marco Peters, who previously worked as a circus performer, having been with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus for 4 years. When he left the circus, he knew he wanted to help animals, and immediately gravitated toward sea lions.
Sarasota Sea Lion Preserve is home to 23 sea lions, some from South America, some from China, and some were born at the preserve. Many of the animals are dealing will illness or injury from boaters, fishermen, or well-meaning people who feed the sea lions food that is harmful to their systems (DON'T FEED WILDLIFE, Y'ALL! They can't eat the same food we eat and you could harm them).
The preserve is open to visitors, so go check it out!