Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Hidden Treasure Of Florida - John And Mable Ringling's Museums

Cà d’Zan
When my husband and I lived in St. Petersburg, FL we enjoyed visiting the John and Mable Ringling Mansion called Cà d’Zan in Sarasota, FL. The first time we went it was later in the afternoon and we accidently got locked inside! Actually with just the two of us inside with no guide was quite romantic and we could almost pretend it was ours'. Anyway, we were discovered in a nick of time. I remember standing on the awesome patio on the bay and the dolphins jumping right up out of the water to us. It was so beautiful and serene there and it became a very special place for the two of us.

Circus Statues in one of the gardens
Of course, they had a circus museum there and we knew that. So we went through that as well as the mansion. They had all kinds of things such as posters, railroad cars, costumes, etc. from previous circuses and things that would be considered collectors' items.

John & Mable Ringling's Art Museum

But the biggest surprise to me, an art lover, was the Ringlings' art museum. John Ringling built this museum to house his personal art collection. It is a priceless treasure to behold! Such masterpieces in this museum! I have been to some of the best art museums in the world, and this one was right up to the standards of the ones I had been to in New York and Rome. I loved it!

The Front Entrance To The Mansion
The mansion had 56 rooms fully furnished in Italian style. Very ornate furnishing. And you could just imagine John and Mable living in this grand house and throwing parties out on the veranda. 

Drive to the door

The Last Of The Gilded Age Mansions

The address of the John and Mable Ringling Mansion and Circus Museum in located at 5401 Bay Shore Drive, Sarasota, FL 34243 Phone: (941) 359-5700.

On The Veranda!
On the veranda or terrace they serve drinks one evening a week. We did not get to attend that event and I am not even sure they were doing it back then when we were visiting it. The veranda was my favorite part of the mansion. 

Fifty-Six Rooms!

The Grounds facing the mansion

If you are planning a trip to Florida in the near future, you might want to consider a trip to this awesome museum. I am not being paid to write this. It was something I thought of posting about because I don't really seem too much online about this tourist attraction. It never was crowded when we went there, but that was back in 1994-95. I see from their online site that the whole mansion has been renovated to restore to the Mable Ringling era in 2002. It is worth the trip!

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
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