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“Beautiful & Historical” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Ringling

The Ringling
Ranked #1 of 138 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 a Museum of Art, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
101 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Beautiful & Historical”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2014

On my visit to Florida, a friend & I visited The Ringling. I must say I was in awe of everything about it. There is so much to explore, learn, experience, & enjoy there. There is even a tram that has designated stops so you can hop on/hop off where you want to go next. Everyone we came in contact with was so cordial and informative. From the lovely lady at the admission desk (with whom we had a nice chat) to each docent, to the tram drivers, the sales associates in the gift shop and eateries - it was a pleasure. Parking is centrally located which is great because walking all day can be tiring. The Museum was just amazing - such a beautiful collection. The docent spoke about the paintings in each area and graciously answered questions. The Gardens are a sight to behold. We visited as much as we could, but definitely will return to catch the parts we missed. Be sure to visit the Mansion!

Visited April 2014
Thank brokendreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
33 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“A great insight into Florida's past”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014

I've been coming to the Ringling Museum complex for over forty years, so I've seen the many ups and downs that the Ringling has gone through. After coming under the oversight of FSU and greatly increasing the entrance fees, the museum has become much more professionally administered and has undergone a great many renovations. Visitors now enter the complex through a building that houses ticketing, a restaurant, restrooms, and a gift shop. The Ringling art museum's collection contains few artworks that I'd consider of the highest class ranking, but to think of its collection only in those terms is to miss the point. First and foremost in my mind is the fact that the collection represents the tastes of John Ringling and how he, like many other wealthy Americans of that time, tried to gain acceptance in the ranks of aesthetically sophisticated elites. America was in ascendency and its newly wealthy oligarchs wanted all the trapping of sophistication that European aristocracy surrounded themselves with. The Ringling collection represents John Ringling's urge to rapidly gain the best collection he could in relatively short order. For me, the northern European Renaissance paintings (Mertens, Cranach, etc.,) Franz Hal portrait, and Dutch still life painting are among the memorable highlights. My absolute favorite painting here is Poussin's "Ecstasy of St. Paul." It is a masterful small canvas. The museum has added exhibition space for its photography collection and rotating contemporary shows. Generally, I find them very well curated and thoughtfully presented. The circus museum is an entertaining and fun look at Ringling's heyday. Ringling's mansion on the bay Ca' d'Zan is in a vastly better state of restoration and repair than it was decades ago. The state of Florida had allowed the house and grounds to deteriorate to a horrible degree and it is wonderful to see that funds have been allocated to preserve and restore the property. One wonders if John Ringling felt he was a bit of a real estate underachiever in comparison to what the true scions of industry like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts built for themselves. While the home is underwhelming in comparison to something like the Biltmore estate, it is an interesting time capsule. The grounds are generally well maintained and presented, although the rose garden is rather shabby and the specimens look as if they struggle in Florida's heat and humidity. The restaurant serves very tasty fare in my experience, better than average compared to many museum food options elsewhere.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank WillL57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Can see why this is #1 attraction”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014

The circus exhibit brought a smile to everyone of our group. Any one who has fond memories of a circus needs to see this exhibit. The detail of the characters, animals, etc. is incredible. Shuttles can take you all around the property. The rose garden was in bloom. It was interesting to see the ages of the roses. Fun place - would go again when in town.

Visited April 2014
Thank 5353cheryl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sainte Agathe des Monts, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Impressive museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014

The circus history museum is impressive. They had the science of logistics down pat.
The art museum is simply world class.

Visited April 2014
Thank 0udi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
193 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 186 helpful votes
“A high point of our visit to Sarasota - a must!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2014

The grounds are simply beautiful. We spoke to one of the gardener's who was tending to the tress and plants. He was an expert in all things botanical and he was delighted to talk to us during our walk through the beautiful grounds. The estate is fabulous and well worth a visit. The walk the grounds is free and that is exactly what we did. You are only required to pay if you venture into the museums. Do go!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank FriendlyTripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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