Ringling Museum Sarasota is my favourite place in the city. I'm so fond of it that I cannot resist coming back over and over again.
Ringling museum is a 66-acre estate John Ringling left to Florida State and its people.
There is so much to see that it makes perfect sense to devote most of the day to it. If you are thinking that 66 acres is a bit too much for one day, do not worry!
There is a tram going around the estate that will take you straight to the mansion, if you prefer to start from it, or to any other place on the Ringling estate. Just let the driver know you wish to hop on!
John Ringling was one of five Ringling brothers who established a family circus in Wisconsin. Later the Ringling brothers merged theirs with Barnum & Bailey circus to become Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus, the leading travelling circus company in the country. That it still is to this day.
John Ringling was the most successful of all brothers. Being involved in rail road, oil and real estate businesses he built his fortune.
He married Mable Burton in 1905 and in 1909 they visited Sarasota for the first time. Since then the Ringlings spent their winters here and acquired the land where the mansion had been built.
The Ringling mansion or Ca d'Zan (means "The House of John" in Venetian dialect) construction was completed in 1926.
The mansion architecture has been inspired by Venetian Gothic palaces.
Mable Ringling contributed a lot of her vision and love to Venice into its design. I personally think she had an exceptional taste.
One of the ground floor rooms has this beautiful gold ceiling. Each octagon contains a couple of dancers in different national costumes painted on sky blue background. It is absolutely stunning!
The windows throughout the mansion and doors leading onto the terrace are coloured glass and the light getting through them is bright and soft at the same time.
The part of high ceiling in the spacious living area is the same glass that sheds this wonderful soft light onto the beautiful furniture and exquisite room décor.
The Ringlings entertained their guests in this part of their mansion.
Let your imagination take you back some 60 years ago and you can almost hear the music playing in the salon and the doors are wide opened onto the sunny terrace with sea views.
The guests are having cocktails watching the sun that like a huge golden drop is trickling down lower and lower still trying to cling to the world's threshold...
One of the things I've not done myself yet is watching the sunset on that terrace. I can only guess what the mansion looks like when the setting sun hits its windows. By the way, it is doable!
Already after the last holiday I've learned that every third Thursday of the month you can enjoy cocktails on the Ringling mansion terrace between 6-9 p.m. for $5 admission fee. Now I have something to look forward to when we come back to the Ringling Museum Sarasota.
The estate grounds provide a beautiful backdrop for the Ca d'Zan. Don't miss a beautiful Mable Ringling Rose Garden.
Mighty banyans native to South Asia attract a lot of attention because of their many hanging branches that, in fact, are aerial roots! These banyans are said to be a gift to the Ringlings from the inventor Thomas Edison.
If you finish your tour around the Ringling Museum close to dinner time, dine at Treviso Restaurant located on the ground floor inside the Art Museum building (where you entered the museum). Advance booking is recommended!
The Ringling Museum Sarasota also provides very good value for money as it allows you to see a lot included into the ticket price. Do get those discount coupons too!
The Ringling Museum Sarasota is opened every day from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Grounds opened from 9:30 am till 6 pm.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days.
Children (6-17): $7
Florida Teachers (with ID): $7
Active US Military: $7
Children under 6: Free
Find your directions below and keep them handy. The place is truly something to look forward to come back to!