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“A Terrific Afternoon”
Review of The Ringling

The Ringling
Ranked #1 of 145 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to the State Art Museum of Florida, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater. The grounds and gardens are free to visit, and the Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We had no knowledge of what this museum really was until last year. Thought it was just about the circus. What a surprise. Everything from very edgy modern art to the classics. The architecture and grounds were amazing. Definitely worth an afternoon.

Thank bri_nate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringling_Museum, Manager at The Ringling, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

We are extremely pleased you had such a wonderful afternoon at the Ringling Museum! Did you also get the opportunity to view our Coville Photography collection when you were hear? Come back and visit us again soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,580 - 4,584 of 5,631 reviews

Reviewed January 2, 2013

We've been twice to the Ringling Brothers Circus when it came to town, and have been disappointed both times.

FIRST: WHY do you have to blast all these children with extremely loud music? It is totally not necessary, and it ruins their hearing permanently and makes going to the "circus" an overwhelming experience for the under 3 set.

SECOND: Where are the clowns? Why can't you have a clown that looks like a clown? Trying to be hip? Fail! Circuses are for clowns that look like clowns. The one tonight, the two "clowns' or whatever they are got on some skis and did the dumbest show ever, something I would expect my children to do when they are at home bored.

THIRD: 12 dollar cotton candy. Really? Really? Blatantly ridiculous.

Sad. Wish someone would come up with a better circus, my two kids ages 3 and 9 aren't even talking about it tonight now that we are home. What's to talk about? The ringing in their ears from the pop music blaring, or the lack of clowns?

Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

I came back from Florida raving about the Ringling Museum. The reviews are right, the place is so big you really need two days to see it all. My sister and I visited a week ago - we also found the admission to be high and were debating whether we could pass for seniors (65+) to save $5 - the price for admission was $25 each - but to our delight, the woman at the counter gave us a $5 discount automatically so we only paid $20 each.

On second thought....does that mean we look old? ; )

The museum consists of three large areas that surround a horseshoe of gorgeous gardens. The first building you will come to on the right is the circus museum. I was a little surprised that the smaller museum didn't have more of an impact, considering Ringling is *so* associated with the circus world. It looked almost like an after-thought, where they threw together some artifacts such as old posters and articles about the circus early days, and had some older equipment in a back room - plus a gift shop that you had to walk thru to get to the older exhibits. One thing they did have in there that was worth the walk, was the old railroad car that the Ringling family used when they traveled around the US. There is a raised walkway on one side of the car and the outer wall is removed, so you can see into each room - very impressive! Really makes you wish you were around in those days and you could take a short trip with them by rail.

The middle of the "U" shape is the wonderful Mediterranian mansion the Ringlings lived in. The interior itself is ornate and well-decorated (note: you can't see the upstairs unless you pay the $5 for the tour - but you can walk around on your own) - and the back of the mansion on the bay is absolutely breath-taking! It was a beautiful day when we were there and I just had to stand there for a while to take in the view - wonderful!

The other end of the "U" shape is the museum. I've been to many museums and I was wrong not to expect much - but I was stunned at the collection that's there. There were several impressive Rembrandts and I also saw some other famous paintings there. By the time my sister and I had gone through one wing of the museum, we were pretty tired and decided to leave. I need to return so I can see the rest of the museum.

There is also a lovely rosegarden to walk through, with a gazebo in the middle. Mabel certainly had good taste!

One note: there are small trams that ferry visitors around the entire area. I wasn't aware of that at first and we walked from the entrance to the circus museum, then to the mansion. Both were a fair walk, and it would be challenging for anyone who can't walk long distances. There weren't any obvious signs that there were trams, but do look for them when you visit because they are there.

1  Thank Rheadabovewater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringling_Museum, Manager at The Ringling, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2013

We are so glad you enjoyed your time here at the Ringling Museum! We really appreicate your feedback and we hope you come back and visit us soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

This attraction has so much to do that we ran out of time without seeing it all. Be sure to ask for student and teacher discounts, as the intial cost seemed a little high. The circus artifacts, exhibits, videos and activities were great. The grounds are so beautiful with a rose garden and a very impressive Ringling mansion on the water. We just toured the first level, rather than upgrading to view the other levels of the house and it was plenty, unless you are really into house tours. The main section we did not get to was the actual art museum building itself. Even kids who are not big into museums would enjoy many parts of this attraction. Very good for families. This museum has been on our list to visit for awhile and we were very glad to finally make it.

Thank Mike K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringling_Museum, Manager at The Ringling, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2013

We are so happy you enjoyed your experience at the Ringling Museum. We hope you get the opportunity to come back and visit the art museum to see all the wonderful works of art that we offer! Thanks so much for your feedback!

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

Great place to make a day with the family. It is a wonderful place to learn the history of the circus and the Ringlings. Has a great cafe to eat and the staff was very helpful.

Thank Eric K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringling_Museum, Manager at The Ringling, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2013

So glad you enjoyed your time at the Ringling Museum and we hope you and your family come back and visit us again soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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