After a terrible winter escaping to Florida for a couple of weeks was just what the doctor ordered!
Spending time near Sarasota — home of this statue:
based on the famous Life Magazine photo of this event reminds one that spring will eventually come.
Being in Sarasota enabled a visit to the Ringling Circus and Art Museum. Starting at 10:00 am (opening) ’til 5:00 pm (closing) no stone was left unturned. The grounds admission allows for visits to the Ringling Mansion and grounds; the Ringling Circus Museums; and the Art Museum.
No inside photos of the Ringling Mansion are allowed. Called Ca’ d’Zan (Italian for “House of John”) it was built in the 1920’s. This was the original swimming pool — it’s now a reflecting pool:
The house is constructed of terra cotta, concrete, stone and brick with many features:
It looks like a palace in Venice, Italy:
The Circus Museums are a quick walk from the mansion and include hundreds of posters:
A circus built to scale shows what a circus used to be like prior to 1955 with a big top, trains for transport and everything else one can imagine:
It’s still a work in progress 50+ years later! The details are amazing.
The museums focus on every facet of a circus–clowns, animals, human feats of agility and strength:
From the earliest known clown–Philip Astley (1768):
to more recent clown props:
There are also different interactive displays that enable one to walk a tightrope, see scenes from the film “The Greatest Show on Earth” and view clothing and furniture owned by General Tom Thumb, a 3.25 foot dwarf discovered by PT Barnum in the 1840’s.
The final stop of the day was the Ringling Art Museum that’s now part of the University of Florid. It features unique exhibits, in addition to art collected by John Ringling:
He was a noted lover of art –especially fond of the Baroque period.
Even the grounds contain statuary:
Visiting the Ringling estate is always at the top of my to-do list in Florida!