This museum is beautiful and right on the ocean. They have free admission one day of the week, it used to be mondays and the whole family can go for free! It is not the most enjoyable thing for the kids. But there is more than just the art museum, there is a cool circus museum, and resturaunt that was great and we ate outside, and the old Ringling mansion right on the beach. It was all very beautiful. They have a golf cart service to ride if you don't want to walk all over the place.
I went with my husband because he had to evaluate several pieces of art for a class he was taking at the time. We went to buy admission tickets and saw they offered a discounted price to students. Yes, my husband is a student and prepared to tell this to the woman at the desk. She told him he was too old to be a student despite him showing her a student ID card from a local college. We both laughed and said that we did not know age declared eligibility to take classes at college. After some thought, she allowed my husband to pay the discounted price. We went through the museum to choose art to evaluate. I was more impressed with the outside gardens and architecture than I was with the art inside. We did visit the circus museum. I was quite intrigued by the miniature version of a circus during the early 1900's setup that spanned across a large platform. The setup was very detailed from the clown tents to animal staging area. This was very impressive. I would recommend to go there. We were not able to visit the mansion because of the time.
This is a great museum. I have been going here since I was a kid. I used to go with the school I was in and I thought it was boring. Now though I relish what I learned there and I appreciate what I had learned from it. Also they had the Medieval Fair in this location. That was so cool. They offer a part of the grounds for receptions and parties. That is so neat to be able to party where many great people have partied before. It is interesting if you enjoy learning about history. Especially if you enjoy going through old houses.
The circus has come to town, if you ever wanted to know about the ringling circus, here you go. You can tour their private home, or their extensive private art collection, or even go on a tour of their cirucus museum. The art is astonding, there are statutes all over the property, especially in the massive gardens that you can stroll through. The history here is really fascinating, so many things you do know about the past, especially the rich people of the past. This is a must see if you come to visit this area of florida.
PROS: lots of art
One of the most beautiful musuems in the South East, the Ringling Museum, is also one of the hardest to find. Nestled near the USF Sarasota campus nearly twenty minutes away from the interstate, it's a difficult one to navigate to but worth the drive.
Not only does the Ringling offer quite a bit of fine art (and very little modern art, if any), but the way that they are displayed is breathtaking. Most pictures are in a gilded frame and offer the viewer something they have probably never seen before.
Last year I visited their Rodin exhibit and was very impressed. They had many of his large sculptures on display. As a bonus, students get in for free to this museum!