The call to the "Big Top" has been heard by many of us at least once in our lifetime. The thrill of hearing the Ringleader announce that "The Greatest Show On Earth" was about to begin, made our hearts beat a little faster and our little bodies sit up straighter in anticipation of pure joy, that we just knew we were going to see things today that we have never seen before! That was the circus!! Those were the days when the circus was really something BIG. Something kids "of all ages" waited each year for them to come into town for just a day or two, and fill your world with wonder, the likes we had never before seen. Times have changed, and circuses have changed, but I think they will always bring us excitement unlike any other.
Sarasota Florida was the winter home for the biggest circus of our time - the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. Thankfully, they left a wonderful legacy here, that those of us who grew up in that wonderful era, can now visit and learn all the various aspects of that time, those people, that craft, that magic called The Greatest Show on Earth!
Jack and I enjoyed a full day of visiting the John & Mable Ringling Museums that included Circus Museum-Tibbals Learning Center, Gardens and Ca' d'Zan - their home. We couldn't see it all in one day, but thoroughly enjoyed all we did see. I took over 80+ pictures and at that, had to "control" myself because I could have taken more. So beautiful, so many memories, especially for Jack as he had as a child, the opportunity to watch them setting up the Bit Top and all that this job in tailed.
The museums not only had original circus wagons, costumes, performers equipment, films on them, but one of the most amazing miniatures I've ever seen. Howard Tibbals spent 50 years building a completely detailed 3,800 sq ft replica of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. Down to the money in the cash registers, the make up on their dressing tables, everything, and I mean everything the circus people needed to do in a 24 hour day. It gave the viewer a much better appreciation of the incredible amount of work that is involved in putting on a circus. The thousands of people involved, the labor involved in setting it up, feeding animals and people, etc. Films showed that as well. I certainly left there knowing that I never want to "run away & join the circus!" - it's way to hard of work!
The acres of land were turned into beautiful gardens, including Mable's Rose Garden and her Secret Garden...ahhh, to have the kind of money and time to design your own special little gardens!
Ca' d'Zan is their Venetian Gothic Mansion, completed in 1926. A 5 story lavish, drop your jaw home that only Hearst's rivaled.
We took the opportunity to have lunch while we were there, at their Treviso Restaurant, and the food was like the museums, pure art. Beautiful and delicious! Lucky us!
It truly was a day filled with beauty and joyous memories!
If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:
...kicking back in Florida, Marie