An Educational experience that started with a Circus.

This past spring break while vacationing at Ramblers Rest RV Resort in Venice, we discovered that The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art offered free Monday admission. Perfect, something free to do with the kids and educational too.

Nestled along Sarasota Bay, The  John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the official state art museum of Florida. It was established in 1927 as the legacy of Mable Burton Ringling and John Ringling for the people of Florida. 

The museum consists of 21 galleries, each offering of a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world.

The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th–20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. 

Peter Paul Rubens Painting

Aside from the art museum, the estate also contains the Ringling’s mansion, Ca’ d’Zan.

Ringling’s mansion, Ca’ d’Zan.

Within the massive like park exists the Circus Museum, Mable Ringling’s rose garden and the Tibbals Learning Center complete with a miniature circus.

Since we came on a free Monday, we were able to walk the grounds, but admission to the Circus Museum and learning Center would be additional. We did not expect the property to be as large as it was. We spent about an hour inside a few of the galleries before walking around the grounds towards the bay. We reccomend visitors to bring bottled water, and wear appropriate footwear, preferably closed-toe, sunblock, and hats. Expect to spend at least 3 – 4 hours if the littles can make it.

New additions to the campus include the McKay Visitor’s Pavilion, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion exhibiting studio glass art, the Johnson-Blalock Education Building housing The Ringling Art Library and Cuneo Conservation Lab, the Chao Center for Asian Art, and the Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art.

In 2000,Florida State University assumed governance of the museum.

Museum Admission

Museum Admission includes entry to the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, and Bayfront Gardens. This Admission does not include entry to Ca’ d’Zan. 

Prices: Adult $25 | Senior (65+) $23 | Child (6-17) $5 | Child 5 and under are Free | Members are Free

Discounted Museum Admissions require a current ID and must be purchased in person:  Active US Military $15 | Florida Teacher $10 | College Student $5 | FSU, USF, SCF, NCF, RCAD students are free | Personal Care Attendants are free | Museums for All* participants are free

Please note: The Bayfront Gardens are included in price of Museum Admission. If you are visiting the Museum, you do not need to buy this ticket.

Bayfront Garden Tours

Available January 16 – April 26

This walking tour led by volunteer guides will introduce you to interesting botanical specimens on the estate while providing a historic overview of the development of the estate. The Ringling Arboretum has been accredited at Level II through ArbNet and there are over 2350 trees within the arboretum representing native, exotic, historical, and culturally significant trees.
Garden Tours are available Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays and will take place entirely outdoors. It is 90 minutes in length and covers approximately 1 mile. We encourage visitors to bring bottled water, and wear appropriate footwear, preferably closed-toe, sunblock, and hats. There will be a maximum of 10 participants per tour. Masks are required of all participants, as well as social distancing. Tours are subject to weather conditions. Please check it at the Visitors Pavilion prior to your tour.  Tickets will be availabe 30 days prior to each tour.  

$15 / $10 for Members

Buy Bayfront Gardens Tour  

Free Mondays

The Museum of Art and Bayfront Gardens are free to the public on Mondays. Regular admission pricing applies if you wish to visit the Circus Museum or Ca’ d’Zan.

Reciprocal Museum Membership Program

Members of the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association or Museum Alliance Reciprocal Program (MARP), Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (ROAM)  or Southern Reciprocal Membership Program (SERM) who present their membership card indicating their affiliation, are entitled to some additional benefits.

Read more about how Reciprocal Membership can help with Homeschooling.