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“Best Attraction in Sarasota”
Review of The Ringling

The Ringling
Ranked #1 of 143 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 February 4, 2014

We hadn't been to the Ringling in 10 years and always wanted to go back but as parents of small children we often ended up at the Mote, Jungle Gardens, G Wiz, etc. We finally got a chance to and were smitten all over again.

The first thing you notice after paying for your ticket is just how big the site is. They even have trams to take lazy visitors around to the different buildings.

We started at the circus museum, which is nice, but is definitely the worst part of the site, unless you are really into circuses. My favorite part was the giant garage containing the train car John and Mable Ringling used to travel around in from city to city. It was so cool imagining yourself living in the 1920s. The other thing I liked about this room was the beautifully adorned cars they used to tote circus animals around in. Just the wagon wheels themselves are a site to be seen.

After this we went to J&M's house. This was awesome, but we wished we'd paid the extra $5 for the guided tour. We had done that on our last visit 10 years ago and it heavily enhances your appreciation of the place. The best of part of the house tour is the back patio, which abuts Sarasota Bay. What a location the Ringlings enjoyed. Oh to be filthy rich!!

The next stop was the art museum, which is a trip all to itself. On the way out the door I learned all the art was personally collected by John Ringling and the building itself was built by him. It's fantastic. The art is amazing. I also learned they have free tours of the premises that I'd like to go back and try some day. They also have awesome temporary exhibits.

The grounds itself is beautiful. Seeing the giant banyan trees are almost alone worth admission.

I love the Ringling Museum and can't wait to return.

Thank GerryFleck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,763 - 3,767 of 5,592 reviews

Reviewed February 4, 2014

The circus museums are fascinating but for us the Ca de Zan was the highlight. We've seen some opulent mansions but this was something else.

Thank Mike B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2014

between the Museum, the Circus museum and Ca'd'zan there is more than enough to spend a day here. We spent a rainy afternoon doing just that. We took the tour of the museum which has a large number of Ruebens paintings that are very large and are worth the docent tour. it's a fascinating collection of architecture, art and materials; many of which John Ringling had imported just for this purpose. The courtyard and gardens are truly amazing and worth a stroll. The admission fee is $25 so if you can go on a Monday or Thursday evening you are saving a bundle

Thank Msmouse1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2014

Good exhibit, especially the mini circus set up from the train arriving to the big top. Very impressive
You can also try to walk a tight rope and see how a clown paints his dace step by step. For circus lovers this a must see

Thank diane167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2014

What a fantastic day out! We weren't sure what to expect here but this was one of the best attractions on the west coast of Florida. The exhibits are very easy to read and there are a number of different buildings to go into including the Ringling's winter home on the edge of the water. We spent approximately 5.5 hours here and would highly recommend it. There are two history buildings and also a theatre on site and there is also the Ringling Art collection all included in the admission fee. If you can't walk there is a free trolley bus that is continuously moving around the site between the different exhibit buildings but nothings is too far away. There is also quite a nice cafe in the middle of the site with an outdoor seating area as well as a cafe at the entrance. Cap parking is free which is great considering that many museums and attractions charge for parking. It's worth taking in a guided tour of the Ringling house with one of their docents (a very knowledgable guide!)

Thank ZandHB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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