I found out that you can get into the Ringling Museum of Art for free on Mondays. I found this on another website but couldn’t find the information anywhere on Ringling’s website. I called to confirm and they let me know that it was true. YAY! Admission to the Art museum & Circus museum is usually $25 and $10 more if you want to walk through the Ca’ d’ Zan.
I arrived before they opened and was surprised to see a good number of cars parked there already and people walking in. The lobby/ticket purchasing area was open ahead of time. There is a short video about the museum and its history that I recommend, or you can walk around the grounds until the museums open. I walked in about 9:45, not sure if opening the ticket area early is an everyday occurrence or maybe just for the crowds on free days?
On my way to the museum, I wandered through a little garden in the trees with some creepy sculptures. Look at those creepy sculptures down there, eek!!
I arrived at the Art Museum right at opening. It was great because there were very few people around. An empty art museum is way more enjoyable than a crowded one. I did notice around noon that the museum was starting to get much more crowded, so go early.
The Ringling Museum has beautiful grounds so it would be better to come when the temperatures are cooler. I was taking advantage of the work holiday that fell on a Monday but unfortunately it was in September and I was melting. I brought my umbrella and fan to try and beat the heat and it was early enough in the morning that it wasn’t too bad (I say that now from the comfort of my air conditioning, past me may disagree).
The art museum is u-shaped around a serene Italianesque garden. You definitely don’t feel like you are in Florida anymore. The area is beautiful for photos, just look at those arches!
Halfway through the museum, I went out into the garden and walked down to the right of the large head sculptures toward the water to see the view and found the Ca’ d’ Zan house.
The free admission doesn’t include Ca’ d’ Zan but I walked behind the house and found a seat to enjoy the view of the water and the architecture of the outside of the home. So many beautiful details.
Sweating, I headed back in the Art Museum to enjoy the second half of the museum and enjoy their air conditioning. The museum has a good variety, so the style of art keeps changing as you walk through and really keeps you interested. That, mixed with the beauty of the interior designs in each room and the gardens are why I would recommend this museum. I mean look at this room!
I talked to one of the greeters when I arrived and he suggested to come back on my way out to see the Asolo Theater. It is an 18th-century Italian theater purchased by John Ringling and brought over from Italy. It was restored in the 2000’s, trying to bring it back to its original glory. It’s small but very ornate, definitely worth seeing. This is located in the lobby area and seems to be open for viewing, I didn’t need to show a ticket to get in.
I’m so glad I got to visit this museum finally and enjoy it at my own pace. I spent about two hours just on the art museum and a small portion of the grounds. Plan for longer if you are paying full admission to see the circus museum. Such a beautiful place and definitely my favorite museum I have been to so far in Florida. What’s your favorite museum in Florida?