Confession: I’ve never been one crazy about the circus.
Our friend Melissa loves the circus. She ended up in the Sarasota area partly because of her love for the art of clowning, and the circus.
Unknown to me until just last year, Sarasota was “home base” for the Ringling Brothers Circus. They wintered in this area, working on their craft and preparing shows, then traveled during the circus season–generally April/May through August.
During our visit to Sarasota this year, Melissa took us to the Ringling Museum for the day. What a day! Calling it “a museum” is a bit deceptive since it’s more a museum campus with buildings housing items related to the Circus, a large art museum featuring European art, beautiful gardens, giant banyan trees, and the Ringling Mansion (Ca’ d’Zan) overlooking Sarasota Bay.
I have a much greater appreciation after viewing the many displays for what the circus meant to so many, and the varied expressions of art that the circus represented. And touring Ca’ d’Zan gives one insight into the life of John and Mable Ringling. Though the mansion is fashioned after a Venetian palace, there’s a bit of everything contained inside, rather like their circus!
We spent an entire day exploring this museum and did not get to it all. If you visit Sarasota, you really don’t want to miss the Ringling Museum!