Ringling Museum of Art

This magnificent Italian-influenced museum exhibits European masters alongside contemporary pieces and ancient decorative art. It has a Mediterranean garden too.

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the official State Art Museum of Florida. It contains 31 galleries of European, Asian, American and contemporary art as well as antique Cypriot artifacts. The museum’s extensive collection features many works collected by the 1920s circus entrepreneur and his wife, including paintings, sculpture, drawings, photography and decorative arts.

Enter the museum through the Visitor Pavilion to find out what temporary exhibitions, tour opportunities and talks are available. The building stretches over two wings and features Italian-influenced architecture, long colonnades and summery pink tones. A charming garden with classical stone statues, a fountain and bright flowers in terra cotta pots lies between the two museum wings. Bring a yoga mat to enjoy Joseph’s Coat, a one-hour technological skyscape at sunset.

Wander through salon-style galleries, decadently painted in teal and deep red. See European paintings from the 16th through 20th centuries, including works by Duchamp, Velázquez and Rubens. Take a guided tour to get a deeper understanding of the artworks, exhibition themes and the Ringlings’ legacy.

The art museum contains a temporary exhibition space that features regularly changing exhibits with diverse themes. Check the online calendar to learn what lectures, workshops, concerts and late-night viewing opportunities are currently offered. Allow time for children of all ages to enjoy the Circus Museum with interactive circus challenges. An extensive collection of circus artifacts and original posters are also on display.

The Ringling Museum of Art is located in the Ringling Estate, a short distance from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Admission to the museum includes access to the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, the Circus Museum and Bayfront Gardens for a whole day. Admission to the museum only is free on Mondays. Most of the museum’s guided tours are included in the admission price, but Joseph’s Coat and private and group tours incur additional fees. The site is wheelchair accessible and some wheelchairs are available. Find free parking outside the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. The museum is open daily except several holidays. Check the website for specific opening hours and a variety of discounted admission opportunities.