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“There's a good reason this is ranked #1” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Ringling

The Ringling
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
+1 941-359-5700
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Ranked #1 of 128 things to do in Sarasota
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to a Museum of Art, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
The Villages, Florida
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
58 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“There's a good reason this is ranked #1”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014

My husband and I ( no kids) visited in late July. We expected it to be sweltering hot, but were pleasantly surprised with the shade and lovely breeze off the bay. Do not be put off by the size of the estate. They have golf cart trams running frequently that will take you from venue to venue if you don't want to walk. But walk if you can in order to take in the beautiful grounds, landscaping and statuary along the shaded paths. The banyon trees alone are impressive, but there is so much more. While we are not particularly strong art museum enthusiasts, the artwork here was so very well exhibited, we ended up spending over 3 hours in the museum and didn't manage to see it all. Don't miss seeing the film on John and Mabel Ringling in the circus museum. It's well done and very interesting. Also don't miss going into Ca d' Zan, but don't feel you have to spend the extra for the 3 room tour of the upstairs. Our guide rushed us through every room so that by the end we wished we had taken the self-guided tour at our own pace. Plan to spend a whole day here. There are a couple of places to get a bite to eat, not surprisingly over-priced, but the sandwiches we had were good. A day very pleasantly spent learning about a bygone era. They just don't make rich people like they used to!

Visited July 2014
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Florida
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12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Plan on spending 2 days to see it all!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

Wear good shoes and bring water in the summer months. The parking was free and very close to the entrance. We bought a one day ticket but ran of time and went back and upgraded to a 3 day ticket for $10.00 each for 2 extra days. They didn't have a 2 day ticket available. They do offer a military, veteran and senior discount. In the summer they also have a little one ring show with about 5 acts. The cost is an additional $15.00 each. If you go see this show the line starts to form about an hour before the show starts. We went to the very upper level balcony and had great seats. The show was great and the one acts is currently on the TV show "Americas Got Talent".

The gardens are wonderful. There is the Mabel rose garden, the dwarf garden, the butterfly garden and a linear tree garden. There are many statues throughout the property. Lush and green with ponds and fountains. They do offer golf cart rides (the tram) to help get you around if you don't want to walk.

The 2 circus museums were outstanding and we spend almost one whole day just seeing everything. The miniature circus was something in a class all by itself. You just have to see it to believe it. Take your time and really look inside all the tents and see all the detail. Wonderful! There is also a movie in the circus museum with the train. Make sure to watch is as it gives a great overview of the Ringling's.

We also toured the summer home of the Ringling's. What a treat. It is right on the bay and is beautiful! You can tour the upper levels of the home but it will be an additional cost.

The art Museum is not to be missed with a huge interior courtyard filled with gardens and more statues. The docent asked if we wanted a tour and we said yes and we were the only 2 on the tour. He was excellent and full of great information. The art work is mainly from Europe and was collected by John Ringling on this travels there to obtain circus acts. After our tour we went back and went through the museum again to be sure and see everything.

Ringling is a wonderful place to go but plan on having enough time to see it all.

Visited July 2014
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Texas
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Have your walking shoes on!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014

If you love the circus, you will love this place. The tiny circus exhibit is fantastic. The mansion is cool also.

Visited July 2014
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Greenville, South Carolina
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Nice Day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014

Went there with family. It was a wonderful day there lots to see and admire with Art, Circus Museum etc.
Plus beautiful views from the Mansion!

Visited July 2014
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Sarasota, Florida
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“We spent 5 hours here - all worth it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

Thought we were just going to see the circus museum. Realized that the $25 admission fee gets you into the John and Mable Ringling home as well as the circus museum as well as the art gallery - decided to do it all. Once we were in the house, found that an extra $20 is needed for docent tour of upper stories of the house and more private rooms. $45 is A LOT of admission fee, but it was really worth it. We saw the whole house and I'm glad I did. It was awesome. Then, the Circus museum with the miniature scale circus is beyond description. It is so fabulous and unbelievable. You really have to see it. The gallery - I am sure it is an excellent art museum but I don't know art well enough to appreciate it - but we went through and were happy we did. So -- it's expensive to get in - but you don't do it every day and it's very worth the price. See it all. There's a free tram to give you a lift around the extensive property. It's not that far to walk, but the tram is a nice addition when you've already been there 4 hours!

Visited July 2014
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