5401 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
(941) 359-5700,(941) 351-1660
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
First time visitors to the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota may be
surprised to find that it consists of several massive buildings scattered over 66 acres. Fortunately people who don't like to walk are provided free rides in open air "trams" beneath sprawling bayon trees. Others may not realize the Museum of Art on the grounds is the official art museum of the State of Florida, ranking among the top 20 in the United States. It does not feature circus posters. Instead, its gilded rooms include heroic-sized paintings by such illustrious sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century European artists as as Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough and more.. The Ringling's amazing European style mansion, completed in 1926, and called Ca' d'Zan, has 56 rooms, and is open to the public. Two more building are dedicated to the circus that made the Ringlings tremendously wealthy. Short films depict how circus trains were unloaded and how the tents were set up in small towns almost overnight. Perhaps not as exciting as the attractions aimed at 21st century youngsters in Orlando, still the John and Mable Ringling Museum and all that is on their landscaped former grounds is one of those must-see places for adults.