Accessibility at The Ringling
The Ringling is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our visitors. However, due to the historic nature of several buildings and the extensive grounds, visitors may experience some challenges with access. Below are services available to visitors with disabilities.
To arrange an accessibility tour or to address any additional accessibility questions or concerns, please email [email protected].
If you need assistance to visit The Ringling, your personal care attendant (PCA) will receive complimentary admission with your ticket purchase. Please notify staff at the Admissions counter for more information.
The Ringling allows the use of trained service animals by individuals with disabilities in all public areas of the campus. Under Florida Statute 413.08, a service animal is not a pet and is limited to a dog or miniature horse trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work done or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. View Florida Statute 413.08
Visitors with Neurodivergencies
- To avoid waiting in line in the Visitor’s Pavilion, we recommend purchasing tickets online prior to your arrival.
- The following times tend to be quieter and less crowded at the museum: Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00 – 11:00 AM and 3:00 – 5:00PM . Tuesdays are typically the least crowded day of the week.
- Temperatures may vary between gallery spaces, especially in the Museum of Art. You may want to bring a light sweater.
- For visitors with wandering or elopement concerns: please note that The Ringling’s property is not completely enclosed by fences or other barriers. The west side of the property abuts Sarasota bay.
Now Available! Sensory Bags
Sometimes a trip to a museum is an overwhelming or even stressful experience for individuals with sensory processing disorders and other neurodivergencies. Visitors may request a Sensory Bag upon arrival, either at a program check-in desk or at the ticketing counter. These bags are free for visitors and theirs to keep. The bags include:
- noise-reducing earplugs
- fidget toys
- a pair of sunglasses
- Sensory Map of the museum
- visual cue card and pencil. This cue card includes photographs of museum venues and activities to help you “Make a Plan” for your visit.
Please help us by completing the survey included in the bag (QR code) and provide feedback on this new program!
Our sensory-friendly map is designed to create an experience that is welcoming for visitors with autism or other sensory needs.
These social narratives are designed to help you plan and prepare for an enjoyable museum visit.
Visitors with Limited Mobility
Accessible parking spaces are located on the northern side of the parking area near the Visitors Pavilion. Visitors must traverse the distance from the parking lot to the Visitors Pavilion.
Courtesy Carts and ADA Trams
Courtesy Carts: These carts are available for those who require assistance and can only accommodate up to 3 individuals. Please speak with a Museum Attendant for more information. Note: Courtesy Carts are limited, and a wait time may be required. All cart service is weather permitting.
Accessible Trams: The accessible trams are equipped with a ramp, but please note that the steep slope of the tram ramp may necessitate assistance from a companion. Wheelchairs and strollers can be accommodated on the trams; electric scooters cannot be accommodated on the trams. If an accessible tram is required, please notify a Museum Attendant. Note: All tram service is weather permitting.
We encourage guests to bring their own wheelchairs. A limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first come, first served basis in each of the venues.
In the Historic Asolo Theater
To purchase accessible seating, or for other accessibility inquiries related to the theater, call the Box Office at 941-360-7399.
Strollers can be used in all buildings but only on the first floor of Ca’ d’Zan. Free strollers are available in each venue on a first-come, first-served basis. Strollers can be accommodated on our ADA-accessible trams.
Visitors touring beyond the first floor will climb multiple spiral staircases and must stand for the duration of the visit. Seating is not available inside Ca’ d’Zan.
Motorized scooters can only be accommodated on the first floor of the mansion. Wheelchairs are available at Ca’ d’Zan and all mobility devices may be used on the first floor.
For those visitors traversing the grounds and exploring the gardens on foot, please be prepared for uneven terrain and varying weather conditions.
Accessible restrooms are available in or near all venues. The nearest accessible restroom to the Historic Circus Galleries and Playspace is located in the Tibbals Learning Center.
Visitors who are Blind or have Low Vision
Museum of Art Audio Guide: Visitors who are blind or have low vision can access visual descriptions of select objects in the Museum of Art audio guide. Explore the Audio Guide
Guided Tours: Visitors who are blind or partially-sighted may request a tour that incorporates tactile objects and visual description for any of our venues with two weeks’ advance notice.
Large-print brochures are available in the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion; please ask museum staff.
Visitors who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
In the Historic Asolo Theater
The Historic Asolo Theater is equipped with a loop system to assist those with hearing aids or cochlear implants equipped with telecoils (T-coil). By turning your hearing aid to “T” for reception, you will be able to hear our performances with enhanced amplification and clarity.
For visitors who do not have the T-coil system, assistive listening devices and cochlear implant adapters are also available for visitors attending events in the Historic Asolo Theater. To obtain an assistive listening device, please ask at the Box Office upon arrival.
Please note that the first two rows of seats on the first tier and the entire third tier of seats are not looped. If you need assistance in choosing seats that will be compatible with T-coil, please call the Box Office at 941-360-7399.
In the Chao Lecture Hall
The Chao Lecture Hall is equipped with a loop system to assist those with hearing aids or cochlear implants equipped with telecoils (T-coil). For visitors who do not have the T-coil system, assistive listening devices are also available; please ask in the lecture hall upon arrival.
In the Visitors Pavilion
Look for the designated T-coil sign to find the ticketing station at the Admissions Desk equipped with a loop system. By turning your hearing aid to “T” for reception, you will be able to hear the admissions associate with enhanced amplification and clarity at this station.
Assistive listening devices (including neck loops for T-coil) are available upon request on all Ca’ d’Zan Experience tours. Visitors may also request the use of assistive listening devices for other guided tours and public programs with advance notice by emailing [email protected].
Visitors who are Deaf may request an ASL-interpreted guided tour with two weeks’ advance notice. Florida residents may use a free TTY / relay service by dialing 7-1-1. For more information visit Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. at http://www.ftri.org/
Audio guides are available for the Museum of Art and Ca’ d’Zan; pdf transcripts of the guides are linked at the top of each audio guide page.
The Ringling website, ringling.org, meets standards consistent with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. An accessibility aide is available in the lower right corner of every page of ringling.org to assist with navigation, content and text size, colors and contrast, highlighting links, reading a page, and more.