Looking for free or low-cost things to do in Sarasota? With 6 distinct venues on the 66-acre estate, there is plenty to discover at The Ringling and many opportunities to visit on any budget!
Check out the eight tips below, and please see our admissions pricing and available discounts for military, seniors, and/or visitors with a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) or other EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. Admissions and Tours
The Museum of Art is free to visit every Monday! This includes the 21 original galleries and courtyard that house the art collection of John and Mable Ringling, as well as the Searing Wing for traveling exhibitions, Monda gallery for Contemporary Art, and the Center for Asian Art. Did you know: when John Ringling died, he left his estate and museum to the people of Florida, stipulating that his museum be free to the public one day of the week.
66 acres of Bayfront gardens are yours to explore every day at The Ringling! When John and Mable lived here, the vegetation was thick and jungle-like. Today, The Ringling is open and park-like, a great place to bring a picnic and enjoy views of Sarasota Bay while watching turtles, and koi fish in the pond, and sandhill cranes, anhinga and osprey. Visiting with kids? Enjoy our epic play space! Discover tree species both exotic and native to Florida, including the iconic Banyan trees. Be sure to visit Mable Ringling’s Rose Garden, the Secret Garden, and the Dwarf Garden. Pro Tip: Tours through Ca’ d’Zan start as a $10 add on to your Museum Admission, but it is free to admire the exterior and try to spot dolphins from the terrace!
Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion
The newest building on the estate is the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion. This beautiful gallery space displaying The Ringling’s studio glass collection is free to visit every day. Adjacent to the Visitor’s Pavilion, the Glass Pavilion also serves as the box office and lobby of the Historic Asolo Theater. Did you know: The Historic Asolo Theater was shipped from Asolo, Italy to The Ringling in the 1940s. Pop your head in to see this beautiful gem of 18th century architecture!
Art After 5
Thursdays are Art After 5 when Admission is just $15 for adults from 5-8pm to visit the Museum of Art and the Circus Museum! Check ringling.org to see if there is a special event or Gallery Walk & Talk that you can attend for free during Art After 5 as well. Pro Tip: The circus museum is free to visit on World Circus Day in April every year.
During the Fall and Spring we hold Ringling Underground, a night of music and art in the Museum of Art Courtyard. Local, regional, and national bands play from 8-11, while local artists show their work in the courtyard. There is a cash bar and frequently a food sponsor, select museum galleries are open to wander through and sometimes hold a special art performance. And did we mention it is FREE for students?? Pro Tip: Follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop about #RinglingUnderground
Free Programs for Families
We have fantastic family programming year-round at The Ringling! From ROAR! Storytime to Family Saturdays and Stroller Tours, there are awesome free programs for families on a monthly and weekly basis.Tickets for our Family Programs are free, which includes up to 2 adults per child and grants admission to the Museum of Art and Circus Museum for the day. Then check out our awesome playground which you can visit for free any time! Did You Know: The Ringling Art Library is one of the largest art libraries in the southeastern US, so if you have an art history research project or just want a quiet place to read the library is open every day in the Education Building.
3 Day Pass
Frequently, visitors to The Ringling lament that they didn’t have enough time to discover all that the museum has to offer in just one day! But did you know we offer a 3-day pass at $35, which is only $10 more than admission for one day (does not include a Ca’d’Zan tour). Pro tip: You can upgrade your admission to a 3-day pass before you leave on the day of your visit.
Deck the Halls at Ca’ d’Zan
During the holiday season, a 1st floor walk-through of the Ringling’s mansion is included with Art After 5 admission. It’s a great time to visit Ca’ d’Zan, and it is decorated for the holidays!