In 1911, John Ringling (of Ringling Bros. Circus fame) and his wife, Mable, purchased twenty acres of waterfront property in Sarasota. Today, that investment welcomes visitors from around the globe with fine art, historic mansion, two circus museums, and a jewel-box of a theater—all on the gorgeous and well-preserved waterfront grounds. The art museum features Old Masters from the Ringlings’ personal collection, including Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough, and more.
For an off-beat addition to your average art-lovers itinerary, be sure to visit the unique circus collection, which celebrates the American circus, its history and unique relationship to Sarasota. The cornerstone of the collection is the world’s largest miniature circus, and children and adults are both fascinated by the permanent installation of John and Mable’s private rail car, built in 1905 to carry them in style around the country on business and with the circus.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (The Ringling) Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Yes
- Hours: The museum is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; the grounds are open until 6 p.m.
- Admission: Adults $19; Seniors $16; Students, teachers, active miltary and children $6; Members and children under 6 are free
- Basic Tour: Free docent-led, 30-minute daily tours (complimentary with admission) are available from May through November at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Subscription/Memberships: $50 Friend Membership entitles members to free admission to the Museum, Museum of the Circus and Ca d’Zan Mansion for them and their children/grandchildren under 17. It also includes guest passes, preview receptions to major exhibitions, discounts in museum stores, discounts at the Trevisio Restaurant and Banyan Café, discounts on lectures and workshops, invitations to members-only special events and galas, the opportunity to participate in the Ringling Members Council and access to a members-only line at the admission counter. Southeastern Reciprocal Museum Membership is available at the Friend and Associate Level ($75). National Reciprocal Museum Membership is available at the Contributor Level ($150) and above.