The Ringling Bros. Circus found a home in Sarasota Florida in 1928. When the show wasn't on the road, it settled on the 100 acres here where John and Mable Ringling built first a winter home, and then a permanent home.
Now, the site houses a museum of their extensive art collection, their home, and several buildings of circus memorabilia.
Since they died without heirs, they willed the entire complex with all the contents to the State of Florida. Their home has been lovingly restored and is open to the public.
We were informed that all of the gold (and there is a lot of it) is real! Mabel died before the great depression, but John was caught in it and ended up with only $311 in his bank account. The art collection and the assets of property were saved by being in trust to the State when John died in 1936.
After several hours at the Ringling, we stopped in Venice at Sharky's for a late lunch.
We shared the last of our French fries with the locals.