Memorial Day in Sarasota + The Ringling

Hello and happy Tuesday! After a lovely holiday weekend, it’s back to normal life today.

Ryan and I celebrated Memorial Day with my in-laws which meant that lots of yummy drinks and indulgent dishes were consumed.

Mike's Hard Lemonade

After a morning workout with Ryan and his dad, Ryan and I drove to my mother-in-law’s house in Sarasota to enjoy a delicious spread of hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, pea salad, fruit salad, fresh cherries and a chopped salad.


Plus lots of chips and dip and deviled eggs to start!



Les + Bernie (Both veterans!)

Ryan’s mom and grandmother live less than five minutes from each other, so it’s always such a treat to be able to see both of them when we come to visit.


They’re two of my favorite women and always greet us with enthusiastic smiles on their faces!


Our time at my mother-in-law’s house passed by a little too quickly, and right after we dug into some dessert (ice box cake for me!), we headed out to meet up with my father-in-law at The Ringling.

The Ringling

Ringling Museum

Ryan and I have walked the grounds of the museum before and enjoyed the gorgeous gardens, but this was my first time visiting the art museum and the circus museum located on the campus.

Ringling Museum Map

As you can tell by the map in my hands, The Ringling is quite large!

The Ringling is named after John Ringling, the art collector, financier and famous circus owner. John and his wife Mable bought property in Sarasota in 1911 and in 1927 moved the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circuses to Florida. The Ringling’s winter residence and art museum were left to the state of Florida upon John’s death and now The Ringling includes a library, theatre and circus museum. (It’s also now one of the largest college art complexes in the United States.)

Ryan’s dad, Ryan and I had plans to check out the art museum and circus museum before dinner and had a great time exploring.

Our first stop took us to the art museum which is free to the public on Mondays. When I first graduated college, I worked in the public relations and marketing department of the Orlando Museum of Art, and I feel like I now notice so much more than I used to when I visit art museums. The Ringling’s collection of European art is quite impressive.

There were three traveling exhibitions at The Ringling while we were there and my favorite was an exhibition dedicated to art forgery. It was fascinating and I highly recommend checking it out if you live in the area and like art.

After our time at the art museum, the three of us walked to the circus museum which is home to banners, costumes, wagons and memorabilia documenting the history of the circus. 

Ringling Circus Museum Circus Museum Ringling

Our first stop inside the museum took us to the Tibbals Learning Center which is home to the Howard Bros. Circus Model, the world’s largest miniature circus.

Largest Miniature Circus

My picture doesn’t even begin to capture the incredible expanse of the miniature circus. It is so detailed and I enjoyed reading all of the plaques in front of the display and learning more about the circus. I was reminded a lot of the book Water for Elephants and wish the museum had more information on the treatment of the circus animals (which obviously concerns me a lot) and the conditions of the railcars since I think that’s an important part of the history of the traveling circus. (When I asked a woman working at the museum if this was intentionally not shared, she didn’t seem to know.)


The museum seems like it would be a fun place to bring kids since one of the galleries included a lot of interactive activities that allowed you to try to walk on a tightrope (on the ground), balance on a plastic horse (again, quite close to the ground) and blast pieces of foam out of a play cannon.


Of course Ryan and I are two big children, so we participated in all of the activities.


We left The Ringling right as it was closing at 5 p.m. and agreed it was a great way to spend Memorial Day.

I hope you guys had a relaxing day with loved ones!

See ya after lunch!

P.S. HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY to my grandma, Mimi!!!


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