2018 Florida Road Trip Part 4

26 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 4 Monday 10/22/2018


After breakfast this morning I headed north on U.S.-41 & I-75 to visit the Sarasota Classic Car Museum located just south of the Sarasota International Airport.  I had been to this museum several years ago, but wanted to see what kind of new additions they had in their collection. This is a very large museum with 100+ beautifully restored antique and classic cars dating from 1885 to the present. The docent informed me that this is the second oldest continuously operating antique auto museum in the country.



Just down the street from the Car Museum is the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ca d’ Zan Ringling home, and the Ringling Circus Museum, all of which are part of what is now the rambling 66-acre Ringling museum complex.  John Ringling came to the Sarasota area in 1911 and purchased 20 acres of Sarasota Bay waterfront property.  John built his magnificent new 32 room palatial summer home (Ca d’ Zan-Venetian for “House of John”) in 1926, and he and Mable moved into the house in 1927.  (Google “Ringling Home-Sarasota” for some interesting details of this mansion, whose design inspiration was taken from the Ringling’s love of the palazzos of Venice, their favorite vacation city).



DiVoran and I had visited the Ca d’ Zan Ringling home and Art Museum some years ago, and I didn’t have the time to visit all of the museums again today.  So I took a photo of the entrance, and headed for the Ringling Circus Museum, which is what I was really interested in seeing on this trip.



After John and Mable moved to Sarasota in 1927, John proceeded to buy more land, around his original 20 acres, in order to have all the necessary space to move the winter quarters of his Ringling Bros. Circus to Sarasota.  As a natural process, and with the inspiration of Ringling’s first Director, Mr. A. Everett Austin Jr. the Ringling Circus Museum was originally established in 1948 as the Ringling Museum of American Circus.  Over the years the museum has grown and now displays artifacts (such as performers’ wardrobes & performing props), lots of memorabilia (such as 19thcentury circus posters & rare circus handbills), and exhibits (such as carved parade wagons & a human cannon) related to the history of the circus in America, specifically the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.



In 2006 the Tibbals Learning Center was added to the museum, which displays the marvelous 3,800 sq. ft. (44,000-piece) miniature model that is a re-creation of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus combined shows from 1919-1938.  Absolutely Amazing!



Next I headed north on U.S.- 41 & SR-684 to visit the Florida Maritime Museum located in the historic fishing village of Cortez, just south of the Palma Solo Bay.  This small museum is housed in the restored 1912 Cortez Schoolhouse, which is now a part of the Cortez Nature Preserve.  The museum displays artifacts, model boats, and memorabilia, relating to the growth of the local and Gulf Coast fishing industry from the city’s founding in the 1880s.




—–To Be Continued—–



Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

4 Responses to “2018 Florida Road Trip Part 4”

  1. Onisha Ellis December 29, 2018 at 11:52 pm #

    I would enjoy visiting the Ringling Museum.


    • Bill December 30, 2018 at 11:38 am #

      This is a great ;museum complex, but plan on spending the whole day if you want to see the Ca d’ Zan, the Art Museum and the Circus Museum.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. divoran09 December 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

    Good job. I really enjoyed those cross Florida visits.


  3. GP Cox December 26, 2018 at 6:11 am #

    Florida has a lot to offer!

    Liked by 1 person

Thank you for stopping by and reading our posts. Your comments are welcomed.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: