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.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.