We usually always take a day away from the beach to do something cultural. We have never done the Ringling as the kids usually want to go to the Mote Aquarium. The price is not cheap but we did find a coupon for $2 off adult admission. Kids tickets are much cheaper. We got there right at the opening and began with the circus museum. The miniature circus was amazing and really gave and overview of what circus life was like during the heyday. My kids loved the interactive area where they could watch a clown put on his make-up, get in a clown car, walk a tight-rope... Then we went to the "old" circus museum and spent a good deal of time looking at the old train cars. Really neat stuff. Then we walked to the mansion and enjoyed the beautiful view on the back deck while waiting to go in the house. We did not pay to take the guided tour but my kids (9 and 11) were not that thrilled with walking through the house so the first floor tour was perfect. After the house tour we made our way to the art museum. We opted for the free docent-lead tour. I recommend it. We learned a lot about the paintings-more than just what was on the plaques by each painting. The exhibit on fakes and forgeries was really quite fascinating. My 11 year old was none too excited about art museums but by the end wanted a book about the art museum to read more about the paintings in the collections. We spent about 5 hours in total. It was a great day away from the beach and we may return again the next time we are in the area. We did eat at the cafe which was so-so food with a really high price tag.