The Greatest Show on Earth

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

It has been a household name for over 146 years and a true legacy in the entertainment world. Whether you have attended one of the many shows across the globe or not, you surely know the name Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In May of 2017, despite efforts to keep the show alive, The Greatest Show on Earth had its final curtain call. Lucky for you, The Cottages on the Key won't keep this secret behind the curtain! Located in North Sarasota in what started out as a winter home to John and Mable Ringling in the early 1900's, is now a spectacular museum, garden, and historical landmark. Around 1909, John and Mable Ringling traveled south to visit friends in Sarasota and felt exceptionally connected with the area. In 1911, John and Mable purchased a winter home in the area named "Palms Elysian," now demolished, which was situated on over 20 acres of land cascading right into the bay.

In the late 1920's, Florida suffered a great setback in the first known economic bubble burst of its kind. It was this mishap that led John Ringling to make a decision that would forever link the Ringling Bros. circus to Sarasota. In an attempt to assist in supporting the local economy, John moved the winter quarters of the Circus from Bridgeport, Connecticut to sunny Sarasota, Florida. The move gained national attention and brought with it hope and prosperity to an area experiencing an economic change. Here in Sarasota, acrobats, clowns, daredevils and a variety of animals from all over the world would train all winter to perform their summer road tours. Of course without giving too much away, we urge you to explore the grounds of The Ringling and learn the magnitude of history for yourself during your next visit or while you are here. We suggest you allow yourself 3-4 hours to view the museum and grounds depending on the type of tour you take. Let the show go on!!


5401 Bay Shore Rd.

Sarasota, FL 34243

Hours of Operation:

Open daily 10:00AM-5:00PM, Thursdays until 8:00PM

The Bayfront Gardens: 9:30AM-5:30PM

**Please inquire for special events / time adjustments at the Visitors Pavilion

Complimentary on-site parking

Additional Sites for information:

Tips and Policies

Admissions and Tours

*Locals’ Tip: Free Mondays!

Every Monday, the Museum of Art, including special exhibition galleries are free to the public!

Until next time, #CottageOn!