Monday – February 24, 2014
Ringling Circus Museum
Another warm, sunny day here at the E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin, Florida. Time for us to explore Sarasota, Florida.
We visited The Ringling, the winter residence of John and Mable Ringling.
This vast exhibition includes the:
- Museum of Art
- Circus Museum
- CA’D’ZAN (House of John)
- Historic Asolo Theater
- Education Center
- Bayfront Gardens
The Ringling is the remarkable legacy of circus owner, art collector, and financier, John Ringling (1866-1936) and his wife, Mable (1875-1929). In 1911, the purchased property in Sarasota, Florida, and in 1927, moved the Winter Quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows there.
The Ringlings built a winter residence, Ca’d’Zan, and a museum of art, which were left to the State of Florida upon John’s death in 1936. Since then, The Ringling has grown to include a circus museum, theater, and library. Stewardship passed to Florida State University in 2000, and The Ringling is now one of the largest college arts complexes in the United States.
The Ringling is open daily from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Thursdays until 8:00 PM.
•Adult : $25
•Senior 65+ : $20
•Student 18+ with ID: $5
•Child 6-17: $5
•Child 5 and under: Free
•Florida Teacher with ID: $10
•US Active Military: $10
Museum of Art
This museum was built to house an extraordinary collection of European art acquired by John Ringling in the late 1920’s and opened to the public in 1931. It features masterpieces by Rubens, Veronese, Velazquez and Gainsborough. At the west end of the central courtyard is a bronze copy of Michelangelo’s David, which has become a symbol of Sarasota.
The museum houses a growing collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as art from Asia. Special exhibitions are held throughout the year.
This museum was established in 1948. It was the first museum in the country to document the rich history of the American circus. It features the banners, costumes, wagons and the Wisconsin, the private railcar on which Jon and Mable Ringling traveled in style around the country on business with the circus.
The Tibbals Learning Center houses the Howard Bros. Circus Model, the world’s largest miniature circus, and a great mural titled The Greatest Show on Earth. A timeline on the second floor traces circus history from antiquity to today.
This was the winter residence of John and Mable Ringling. It was built between 1924-26, at a cost of $1.5 million. Its Venetian Gothic style reflects the Ringling’s love of Italy, which was one of their favorite vacation destinations. Tours are available throughout the day.
Historic Asolo Theater
This theater is the birthplace of many of Sarasota’s performing arts institutions. It is an active venue, used for performances, concerts, lectures, and other programs held throughout the year. The theater was constructed in Asolo, Italy, in 1798. It was acquired for The Ringling in 1949. After extensive restoration, it was re-opened in 2006.
The center houses administrative offices, classrooms, and a conservation laboratory, where works from the collections are carefully preserved for the benefit of future generations. Also located here is the Ringling Art Library, which holds more than 88,000 volumes on art, architecture, circus, and other subjects, dating from the 16th-21st centuries. At the heart of this remarkable resource are more than 800 books that once belonged to John Ringling.
The Ringling occupies 66 acres on the shores of Sarasota Bay. It features hundreds of native and exotic trees, including a selection of historic banyans. It is home to beautiful gardens, including the oldest rose garden in Florida, founded by Mable Ringling in 1933. Laid out in a wagon-wheel design, this 27,000 sq. ft. garden contains more than 1,200 roses, one variety of which was named after Mable herself.
The Ringlings are buried in a private enclosure behind the Secret Garden, where Mable once grew specimen plants, known as "onesies" and "twosies," given to her as gifts by family and friends.
We completed our visit to The Ringling at 5:00 p.m. Time to find a restaurant for dinner!
We ventured to the Old Historic District of Sarasota. Upon cruising through this quaint, unique area, we spotted the YUME Sushi Restaurant. Did I mention we LOVE sushi! We found a parking space off of the main street, walked by the restaurant to get a better look inside and decided this would definitely work for us. We were not disappointed. The food preparation and service was excellent. The décor within the restaurant provided a warm and friendly ambience. When we arrived at 5:45 p.m. there were only two other tables occupied. By the time we left at 7:00 p.m., every table was occupied and a waiting line had stated to form.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.