Ca' d'Zan picture
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Key Info

5401 Bay Shore Road

Details

Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 2.5Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Though not as stately as the adjacent John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Ca' d'Zan woos visitors with its Venetian Gothic-style architecture and elegant interior. The property – which was once the home of Ringling Bros. Circus co-founder John Ringling and his wife, Mable – sits five stories tall and features details like a roof made of 16th-century Spanish tiles, a marble terrace overlooking Sarasota Bay, servants' quarters, a game room and an 82-foot-high tower with a domed ceiling. Many of John and Mable Ringling's personal belongings, plus unique furnishings, such as an Aeolian organ and a crystal chandelier that once hung in the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, are also on display in the building.

Visitors praise this historic attraction's lavish design and breathtaking views of Sarasota Bay. Though some past travelers lamented the extra charges incurred to explore the entire property, others highly recommend purchasing an upgraded ticket with access to all floors. However, visitors with mobility issues may want to pass on tours of the upper floors due to the home's lack of a working elevator.

Several ticket options are available for Ca' d'Zan, the most affordable of which costs $30 per person and includes a 45-minute guided tour of the building's upper floors. For a complete tour of the property, a $40 per person charge applies. Travelers can also add on tours of Ca' d'Zan's first floor or first and second floors when purchasing tickets for the Museum of Art. All visitors (including non-ticket holders), have access to The Ringling museum campus amenities, which include restrooms, picnic areas, two cafes, free parking and bicycle racks, two gift shops and complimentary tram service around the property.

Ca' d'Zan is located 5 miles northwest of downtown Sarasota by the airport. To get to the property, visitors can drive, bike or take the No. 30 or 99 SCAT bus. Besides Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, it is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. More information about Ca' d'Zan's history, tours and special events can be found on the attraction's website.

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Time to Spend
#1 Myakka River State Park

Considered one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park stretches across 58 square miles of wetlands, hammocks, pinelands and prairies. The area also features a river and two lakes, making it a prime place to enjoy water activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Or, visitors can tour the lakes via one of the attraction's airboats, which are the largest in the world. Land-based tours are offered seasonally as well.

Though some travelers caution that finding the park's entrance and parking near the lake's main activities can be a bit of a challenge, many agree that this scenic spot is a must-visit for nature lovers. All sorts of animals – including alligators, roseate spoonbills and armadillos – are known to frequent the area. What's more, the park offers nearly 40 miles of hiking trails – including one walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground – and several biking paths.

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