Although there was a line of people at the entrance there were few tourists on the paved walkway toward Ca’d’Azan, the Ringling’s historic home on Sarasota Bay, where we made our way through the ground floor before the guided tour began. We explored the 27,225 square foot Italian inspired Mable Ringling Rose Garden, enchanted by the colorful and fragrant roses. After a coffee break we headed to the Museum of Art, where we walked the long air conditioned galleries admiring the fine art collection.
In the early afternoon we headed to Muse at The Ringling for a light lunch on the waterside terrace. A cool breeze made the meal especially pleasant as we watched the water feature and the entrance to Tibbal’s Learning Center from our shady table. Tibbal’s and the Original Circus Museum, two adjacent buildings for circus fans, were next. It was almost the end of the day when we exited the museum, exhausted yet pleased.
The variety at the expansive John and Mable Ringling Museum was a salient aspect we appreciated. From its pretty Bayfront Gardens with native and exotic species, historic waterfront home, lovingly maintained rose garden, fine art museum, circus museum, circus models and foodie lunch venue we were never bored.
Children The property welcomed children of all ages.
Handicapped Access There was uneven terrain across the estate. Access in historic buildings might have been hampered for individuals with limited mobility. According to the museum website, a limited number of wheelchairs was available on a first come first served basis, and caregivers were admitted free of charge.
Languages There were two-page flyers in seven languages on the attraction website.
Location One mile from the airport
Number of Employees 150 (and 500 volunteers)
Owned-Managed According to the museum website, since 2000 the estate had fallen under the stewardship of Florida State University.
Size The 66 acre estate housed some 14,600 artifacts (estimated) in nine buildings, and welcomed 400,000 visitors a year. According to a spokesperson, the collection was vast and most of the items were not on public display.
Transportation A car seemed the most convenient way to reach the museum. There was ample free parking. Within the estate there was a complimentary tram.