It’s easy to catch the camera disease in Sarasota, FL—you can blindly shoot anything at the Ringling Museum of Art and have it mistaken for a professional photo.
With its multiple gardens, scattered art sculptures, and looming architecture (not to mention all the beauty housed inside those looming architectures) every inch of the Ringling estate can be a backdrop for all wannabe models. This is most evident as I waited for admission. Outside the windows ran a lady dressed in full bridal gown with her groom and photographer in tow.
But I’m not here to talk about photos.
The Ringling Museum (as the entire estate is called) consists of the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum (Circus? Remember, this the Ringling family of the famous “Ringling Bros Circus“), the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, beautiful landscaping, waterfront view, and lots and lots of art.
With limited entrances and windows, it’s easy to feel lost inside the Museum of Art. Everywhere you turn there’s a collection of rich paintings and a few sculptures from the “great Old Masters.” While no photos are allowed inside, the museum’s courtyard hosts more beautiful scenery of gardens and copied sculptures of the Renaissance period.
Due to limited time, we didn’t go to the other popular destination– the circus museum (a part two is definitely needed) because all the gardens provided great distractions. If there was no admission cost, I would have loved to curl up with a book and blanket outside with only the statues and plants for company (Have I mentioned how beautiful the estate landscaping is?)
From guarding the art museum to providing transportation, the Ringling Museum is manned by very chatty and enthusiastic elderly people. I recommend asking any of them questions and learning secrets of the estate regular people wouldn’t know about.
Whether you’re an art student, practicing photographer, local history enthusiast, or just a regular experiencer… the Ringling Museum is a relaxing and beautiful estate to explore. The Ringling Museum is a destination for those who can appreciate old art and find beauty in nature. You can try and force your teens and children to learn about a culture outside of computer games (“smile nice against those mangroves so we can send this photo to grandma!” But with my assumption of today’s kids (being a rather young professional myself) be prepared for some whining, feet dragging, and bored looks. But hopefully they’ll thank you in the future.
It’s difficult to write about a place where its visuals tell the story. Photos could not be taken inside the museums, but feel free to view other parts of the museum by just clicking on any of my photos
The Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Rd
Sarasota, FL 34243
Admission (As of January 2013) $25 for adults
Student ID: $5 (Free for USF students)